Destination Ann Arbor (formerly the Washtenaw County Convention and Visitors Bureau/WCCVB or Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau/AAACVB) is a nonprofit organization tasked with enhancing the economy of Washtenaw County communities by promoting the area as a tourist destination. As part of this effort, Destination Ann Arbor commissioned Anderson Economic Group (AEG) to update its economic impact study of tourism in Washtenaw County. AEG previously conducted this analysis in 2014, 2015, and 2017. In 2019, we added an additional component of a fiscal impact analysis on hotels in the county.
To conduct our economic impact analysis, we used a custom-built economic model of tourism employment and spending in Washtenaw County. We relied upon several data sources to estimate tourism activity in the area, including 2014 and 2016 tourism data from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC); tourism trends in the state and the county using additional reports from the MEDC; hotel data from Smith Travel Research to identify trends in hotel room stays; and data on property taxes paid and excise taxes collected by hotels in Washtenaw County. We also collected data on major events in the county. Using these factors and economic impact multipliers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA),we calculated the net economic impact of tourism in Washtenaw County in terms of output, earnings and wages, and jobs. We also estimated the net fiscal impact of tourism-supporting businesses (hotels) on the county.
Our findings were shared with Destination Ann Arbor in the form of a report, complete with custom exhibits showing our economic impact calculations. As of December 2019, the results of the study had not yet been released by Destination Ann Arbor.