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Dave Lorenz of Michigan Honored as 2023 State Tourism Director of the Year

Dave Lorenz of Michigan Honored as 2023 State Tourism Director of the Year

Dave Lorenz of Michigan Honored as 2023 State Tourism Director of the Year

Dave Lorenz, the Vice President of Travel Michigan, has been honored with the prestigious title of State Tourism Director of the Year for 2023 due to his exceptional efforts in revitalizing the state’s tourism sector following the pandemic. He strategically positioned Michigan as a top destination in the competitive travel industry during the recent surge in domestic leisure travel.

The announcement came amidst the U.S. Travel Association’s annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference, a gathering attended by over 1,000 destination marketing professionals. This year, the conference was held in Savannah, GA. The award is determined by the National Council of State Tourism Directors, representing the official tourism offices of all U.S. states and territories. The honoree is chosen through a vote conducted ahead of the ESTO event.

Taking the helm of Michigan’s destination marketing organization in July 2015, Lorenz orchestrated a significant revival of the state’s tourism industry. His innovative marketing campaigns showcased Michigan’s spirit of inclusivity, fostering community engagement while leading efforts to enhance accessible travel options. Notably, these endeavors generated substantial returns on investment for the state.

Lorenz adeptly adjusted Travel Michigan’s marketing strategy in 2022 to align with the competitive landscape of post-pandemic domestic leisure travel. An external study revealed that Travel Michigan’s advertising influenced nearly 2.1 million leisure trips to the state in 2022, contributing to a total spending of $3.1 billion and generating over $195 million in state tax revenue. This translated to an impressive 11:1 return on investment, marking the highest in Travel Michigan’s history.

In addition to his marketing prowess, Lorenz is a prominent advocate for enhancing accessibility for both visitors and residents. He spearheaded the development of a website showcasing accessible travel options within the state and initiated a grant program to incentivize local destinations to improve accessibility for disabled travelers.

Community engagement emerged as a cornerstone of Lorenz’s achievements, as he spotlighted Michigan’s distinct culture and attractions. Local musicians and voices were prominently featured in Travel Michigan’s commercials and digital campaigns, reflecting his commitment to showcasing the state’s essence.

Lorenz’s leadership extends to the realm of sustainable travel, as he actively champions the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure throughout Michigan.

Beyond his role with Travel Michigan, Lorenz holds positions of influence on various boards and associations, including the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association. He also serves as Chair of Great Lakes USA and Cruise the Great Lakes, and is a board member of multiple tourism-related organizations.

Lorenz’s background includes experience in partnerships, promotions, and radio broadcasting, with a 14-year tenure in the latter field.

The nominees for State Tourism Director of the Year are put forth by state and territory tourism directors. From these nominations, a trio of finalists is presented annually, with the recipient chosen through a ballot vote.

What they said:

“Dave is a tremendous steward of Michigan’s diverse and thriving travel industry,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “His dynamic approach to marketing the Great Lakes State has been highly successful, creating meaningful benefits for the economy and people of Michigan in an increasingly competitive domestic travel market.”

“As we continue to highlight the tremendous opportunity Michigan offers as a destination to live, work and visit for families of all backgrounds, the work to market the state through the Pure Michigan campaign and efforts of the Travel Michigan team has been critical to changing perceptions and welcoming all people to our state,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “Dave’s passion for the industry and his love for Michigan have helped to guide Pure Michigan into a nationally recognized brand bringing economic impact across both of our beautiful Michigan peninsulas.”