Tourism alive and well in Mackinac Island - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Tourism alive and well in Mackinac Island

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(07/09/12) - We continue to be bombarded with talk about the economy and gas prices.

It's enough make you want to just get away from it all.

For a lot of us in Michigan, the way to do it is to go up north.

But are those summer vacationers making the trip or are more of them choosing staycations?

We sent ABC12's Larry Elliott up north for the answer.

To look at downtown Mackinaw City and the ferry docks to Mackinac Island, it would seem the economy and gas prices are having little effect.

The fudge and souvenir shops have been busy all day, parking spaces fairly full and traffic as much as a northern Michigan rush hour ever gets.

The thing is, those are all just observations I've made for one beautiful July day.

There are people in town who track the real numbers on all of this, because it's a matter of their economic survival.

"What people are looking for is not only the adventure they can have here, but also the things they can do that are family oriented and free and we have that with our trail system..You know the north central state trail and Mackinaw City is the trail head or the state trails and of course the headlands being designated as the ninth dark sky park in the world," said Dawn Edwards, of the Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce.

They're also finding the need to be more creative in everything they do.

"To save expenses, 'cause that's one of the big things, we're not going to cut down on the services we use, so what we're trying to do is be a little more creative with our advertising and we've really gone heavily into social media, cutting out a lot of our print but we're really heavy into Facebook right now and I would say that's where we've gotten the most creative," said Misty Martinchek, Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry.

And they tell me they're noticing more people coming from out of state, and think they know why.

"We really think it's Pure Michigan," Martinchek said.

Sheplers is even doing a tweet-up later this month, inviting the public and social networking specialists from tourist businesses like Bronners to get together on a ferry boat under the Mackinac Bridge to meet their Twitter followers.

I do have to say just the smell of the fresh Lake Huron water mixed with the fresh fudge is enough to get me up north.

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