TRAVEL MARQUETTE IS now reviewing a study it commissioned several months ago, asking tourists what they like about Marquette County and asking locals how they feel about the tourists.
A thousand visitors from 36 states and three foreign countries gave responses. So did about 500 locals.
Here’s the most astonishing result: Tourists were asked what their “satisfaction rate” was in their visit to Marquette County. They rated their visit a 4.8 out of 5.0. You can’t do much better than that.
“They love it here,” says Travel Marquette executive director Susan Estler. “The people are nice, the scenery is beautiful, they like the downtowns. They want to come back.”
Their main activities here?
Driving, sightseeing 57%
Craft breweries 55%
The surprise has to be craft breweries. They’re an even bigger attraction than many of us had thought.
The Black Rocks Brewery in Marquette is a favorite of both locals and tourists.
A couple of other notes–90% of these leisure visitors arrived by car, and the greatest number of responders to the survey were in their twenties and thirties. Young folks. They’re visiting Marquette County and liking what they see. That bodes well for the future.
Now, about the locals. They were asked whether they thought tourism had a positive or negative effect on where we live. Fifty-one percent said it was positive, forty-two percent replied that it was both positive and negative, and the remainder said it was negative or they didn’t know.
Doesn’t really matter. Tourism in Marquette County is a force in Marquette County, and it’s only going to grow in the years ahead because–to paraphrase Sally Fields at the 1985 Academy Awards–They like us! They really like us!
The challenge for Travel Marquette now is how to extend the tourist season.
A favored spot for visiting shoppers is West Washington Street in Marquette.
“From November to May, it’s very slow here,” Estler says. The merchants would all agree. “We’re taking a look at that. We want to do something about it.”
Of course, the smart-ass out there would suggest that we raise the temperature 20 degrees and limit the snowfall to the months of December, January, and February. Not gonna happen.
We like it as it is. And after all, they like us! They really like us!