2020 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism to Highlight Strength of the Industry

Release Date


  • Conference taking place Feb. 18-20 in Grand Rapids
  • Early bird registration open until Jan. 15

LANSING, Mich. – Tourism representatives, economic development professionals and meeting planners from across Michigan will come together in Grand Rapids Feb. 18-20 for the 2020 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Early bird registration for the event is open until Jan. 15, with a full lineup of events, speakers, sessions, and exhibitions that focus on hospitality and tourism industry.
The conference will feature keynote presentations by Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global, Rick Wade, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Elnian Gilbert, trainer with Zingerman’s ZingTrain.  
“The Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism is the state’s premier event to bring together our industry professionals and provide meaningful opportunities to discuss timely issues, learn about the latest trends and changes in the industry, and provide an update on what is happening with our efforts here at Pure Michigan,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “The conference will also deliver valuable insights to industry professionals about how to attract diverse groups from around the globe to our state.”
The release of the 2019 Michigan tourism results and a tourism business forecast for 2020 will be a key component of the conference. The report, released by SMARInsights, highlights key insights into both the economic impact and the effectiveness of the campaign in motivating out-of-state trips to Michigan for leisure travel.
“This year’s Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism brings together the hospitality industry for a broad array of topics impacting our industry.  We have sessions in a variety of areas including diversity, accessibility, legislative advocacy, marketing, sales, placemaking, and industry trends,” said Larisa Draves, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus and one of the conference organizers. “While the conference is something that many look forward to each year from a networking standpoint, it also provides a chance for Michigan tourism industry stakeholders to learn from national-level speakers about a wide variety of very timely topics impacting our industry.”
Also during the conference, several awards will be presented including the Shining Star award, which will be given to an individual who has made a tremendous impact on the front lines of Michigan tourism. The honor is intended to discover and recognize one outstanding hospitality professional for his or her impact, dedication and service. Nominations for the Shining Star award must be submitted by Jan. 28. To learn more about all four awards, visit here.
The latest round of Pure Michigan Trails and Towns designations will also be announced at the conference. The trails and towns that receive this designation are identified as among the best of the best in the state of Michigan, promoting healthy lifestyles, conserving natural resources, and providing a catalyst for economic activity in their communities. To learn more, visit here.
Sessions that will be offered during the conference include national trends and marketing research; marijuana marketing in Michigan, legislative updates, sales and marketing, and diversity in the workplace. Optional breakout sessions will cover topics such as placemaking, an update from the Office of Outdoor Recreation, website accessibility, how film festivals are making an impact on travel in Michigan, and more. The Michigan Travel Commission will also be meeting on Feb. 18.
Michigan Cares for Tourism (MC4T) will again kick off the conference with a volunteer project. For this year’s project, MC4T will rally industry professionals to refurbish two historic buildings within Grand Rapids’ Oak Hill and Greenwood Cemeteries. Volunteer tasks will include painting, purging unwanted items, cleaning, and restoring woodwork. The Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department is hoping to turn these underutilized spaces into functioning office space.
“Being the host destination for another Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in 2020 is an honor and a great opportunity,” said Doug Small, President and CEO of Experience Grand Rapids. “This conference is an important event for the Michigan hospitality industry because it allows for discussion, networking and professional development. It is also a great opportunity to show our state’s leaders that there is a strong coalition of travel professionals working to keep our state’s brand relevant, while providing thousands of jobs and revenues to small businesses, while supporting Michigan’s tax base.”
The conference is taking place at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. For more details on the conference, visit https://medc.cventevents.com/PMGCOT.

Early bird registration runs through Jan. 15. Registration to attend the conference will be open until Feb. 7 and can be accessed by visiting here.
Media interested in attending the conference should contact Kathleen Achtenberg at [email protected] or 517.335.3340.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.