The importance of heritage tourism is again emphasized by a new Michigan report. The publication MIRS had this to say:
"According to numbers released today by the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG), the Michigan counties with the highest and lowest unemployment rates in August both hail from the Upper Peninsula. Mackinac County, home to one of the state's biggest tourist attractions Mackinac Island, reported the state-low 3.4 percent unemployment rate.
Baraga County found itself on the high end of the scale, reporting a state-high 11.6 percent rate.
The regional labor market reports for August also found another tourist haven —Leelanau County — recorded a comparatively low unemployment rate (4.2 percent). The only other counties under 5.0 percent were agriculture-heavy Cass and Barry counties. Eaton, Isabella and Washtenaw counties were all at 5.0."
Baraga County has no major cities and only a couple villages of some renown. There are no major history sites. Mackinac and Leelanau counties also have no major metropolis, but the former's main draw is history through several centuries. In Leland, the main village of the latter, a community preservation group came together to save and preserve "Fishtown", a remarkable commercial fishing site. All three are far from southern Michigan; distance is clearly not an issue.
Yet one more proof of how Michigan's economic vitality can be aided by well-conceived heritage tourism plans that rely not on gimmicks but authenticity.