Detroit vineyard, boutique hotels pop up as Motor City tourism spikes

- The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau is reporting some big numbers in a campaign that's airing all over the country and world.

More than 19 million people visited the Detroit Metro area in 2018, according to the organization. That's a number that's tripled since 2008.

Larry Alexander with the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau says people want to be a part of Detroit's comeback, in some way.

"Detroit is a great place come and see and experience the things we have to offer. We see that with growth in our numbers, we see that with more international travel and we recognize that people want to be a part of what's taking place here and we're still affordable," Alexander said.

Alexander and his crew at the Convention and Visitors Bureau have the task of growing that number more. Not just with conventions and meetings but with business travelers and tourists. 

So this idea may wet your pallet: Detroit vineyards. It's hometown wine grown right here in Detroit. Founders hope it will mean a sip of success in a glass they see as half full with room to grow from. 

Ten years ago, the idea of a winery in Detroit seemed unimaginable.

"I think people across the country would have said 'vineyard in Detroit? Wine from Detroit? I don't think so.' They probably would say it's not California, or France or someplace like that. But to know that we have it being grown and developed right here in Detroit, it's something new and exciting," Alexander said. 

The other elements luring tourists is the Element. That's the name of this boutique hotel under construction on John R. Hugging the street corner on Broadway, is the Siren Hotel, another boutique that just opened.  Then there's the Shinola which opens later this year.  

"People like boutique Hotels. They enjoy them because of the personal service they can receive. Individual business travelers prefer that as opposed to what we called big box hotels. Individual business travelers like smaller more personal service properties," Alexander said.

In the last three years, 160 new restaurants have opened up.  And with convention and meeting traffic up, Alexander is hoping to grow the number of visitors to the metro area again. The best form of advertising, word-of-mouth. 

"They're going back and telling their friends and their family and their neighbors, you got to go see what's happening in Detroit," he said.

TO LEARN MORE about Detroit Vineyards, go to detroitvineyards.com.

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