Michigan hoping to tap deeper into tourism industry amid population fears

The travel industry in Michigan is hoping to sell the state to anyone and everyone in hopes of boosting tourism.

Amid worrying reports about Michigan's population and dire predictions that it will continue losing out to other states as a place to live and work, an event in Detroit hoped to showcase the best ways to attract visitors.

"They see this state as the beautiful place it is," said David Lorenz, VP of Travel Michigan. "Maybe they want to invest here, maybe they want to move their office here or shop here. Maybe they want to live here."

The Pure Michigan ads have become staples of the tourism industry. Michigan residents know it well. The trick is getting others to see it.

If the state's tourism economy is successful, Michigan will benefit greatly.

"It’s a 9-billion dollar economy," said Claude Molinari, CEO of Visit Detroit. "So were talking Oakland, Wayne and Macomb County and the city of Detroit,"

It would also aid the 500,000 people employed in the industry, which Molinari says can often pay super high.

Those jobs happen across many forms from conventions and concerts to sporting events and of course hospitality. That includes some 45,000 hotels in Metro Detroit.

MORE: Michigan's newest task force seeks to solve state's population loss

But for Southeast Michigan to succeed in that endeavor, they'll need to make travel easier and cheaper. Geoff Freeman, the president and CEO of the US Travel Association says there are a lot of underlying issues that need to be addressed to build a robust tourism economy.

"Americans can’t get passports to get out of the country. Foreign travelers can’t get visas to get into the country. Twenty percent of flights are delayed or canceled," he said.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Ann Arbor says part of that emphasis should come with an FAA authorization bill that requires good paying jobs for those that help facilitate travel across the country.