The 2016 Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration were presented at the April Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Lansing. The awards were presented by Dave Lorenz of Travel Michigan, representing the Michigan Travel Commission, and Julie Pingston, representing the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan (TICOM).
The Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration were created by the Michigan Travel Commission, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, to elevate the status of Michigan’s tourism industry and to promote innovative collaboration as an effective, efficient and creative operating principle for the industry. The inaugural awards were presented at the 2009 annual Tourism Conference.
Autopalooza was created as a collaboration to promote the unique automotive events which occur across southeast Michigan during the summer. The promotion all of these events together, connects the culture of auto heritage throughout the region and presents the events in a new and compelling way.
Autopalooza features 18 events and the reach spreads from the downriver Detroit area, to the Woodward Dream Cruise, the Pure Michigan 400, and to Lansing with the Car Capitol Celebration. It is estimated that through the various Autopalooza events, over 3 million visitors and residents are reached and linked to Michigan’s automotive heritage and culture.
Cell Block 7 won in the category of Non-Traditional Partnerships as a collaboration of Experience Jackson, the Michigan Department of Corrections and the Ella Sharpe Museum. The partnership between Experience Jackson and the Michigan Department of Corrections is unprecedented by bringing a local non-profit’s vision for a unique tourism experience together with a state department’s goal of improving the perception and image of the corrections system.
While both parties agreed a museum in block 7 of the prison could work, the major stumbling block centered on who would operate the facility if it was developed. Experience Jackson reached out to the Ella Sharp Museum, a nationally accredited community museum and they agreed to operate the facility.
Michigan’s tourism industry can now boast of having the only prison museum in the country that is located within an operating prison complex which thousands of visitors have now experienced.
The third and final award went to Michigan Cares for Tourism in the category of Non-Traditional Partnerships. Michigan Cares for Tourism is a 100% volunteer, 100% give back partnership between Michigan tourism organizations which come together to help restore Michigan’s historic attractions, learn about a Michigan tourism community, and network across industry segments to ultimately enhance the visitor experience.
In their first two years, Michigan Cares has engaged 890 tourism professionals as volunteers at the four Michigan historic attractions that have hosted restoration and clean-up efforts.
The Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan is comprised of more than 48 statewide tourism associations, corporations and convention and visitor bureaus whose mission is to promote Michigan’s travel and tourism industry as a vital component of economic development and quality of life through governmental advocacy, public relations, and other promotional and educational efforts.