Michigan policymakers have recently considered adopting policies that would affect the school year calendar for public K-12 schools in the state. In particular, legislation introduced in 2015 would, if passed, either overturn or diminish the 2005 mandate that public K-12 schools start after Labor Day. This mandate is known as a post-Labor Day school start (PLDS) law. In addition, many local school districts are considering adopting a year-round school (YRS) calendar.
These policies are often thought to have an impact on tourism since families with school-age children typically plan their vacations and travel around the school calendar. The purposes of this report are to:
- Quantify the benefits of the PLDS law to Michigan’s tourism industry; and
- Qualitatively examine the potential effects of a statewide adoption of a YRS calendar on Michigan's tourism industry.
Our research and analysis resulted in the following major findings:
- Room sales for Michigan hotels increased by 40,000 to 44,000 room nights in 2007 due to the PLDS law. The impact of the PLDS law on hotel room revenues was between $4.5 and $5.2 million.
- The PLDS law increased hotel room sales and room revenues for hotels in all regions of the state. The impact was the largest in the Southeastern Lower Peninsula.
- The PLDS law in Michigan increased tourism spending by at least $20 million in 2007.
- As policymakers consider the costs and benefits of YRS, a statewide implementation may reduce revenues for the tourism industry. Configuring school year calendars so they maximize breaks during July and August could avoid the potential revenue losses.