U.P. 200 study shows economic impact of $1.9 million

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich., (WJMN) – The U.P. 200 brings thousands of people to the Upper Peninsula each year, they spend money in restaurants, hotels, shops and more.

Darlene Walch, president of the UPSDA, says the NMU Chapter of the American Marketing Association, Travel Marquette, the Lake Superior Community Partnership, and the Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association partnered to create a survey to assess the economic impact.

“The takeaway from that is, based on the data, we did a conservative estimate saying 2,500 patrons coming from out of the area, we know that that is conservative there are usually about 5,000 people downtown on Friday night,” said Walch. “But we wanted to air on the side of low rather than higher and the results of the economic impact statement for the 2020 races is $1,985,680.”

Walch says the study was consistent with a similar survey done in 2014 which estimated the economic impact at $2 million. They collected surveys in Grand Marais also, but the focus was on Marquette County.

“Based on the data we had there we could extrapolate because we knew how many responses came in from Alger County and so we theoretically could add 5 to 10 percent of that economic impact onto it to account for Alger County but the report that was produced focused on Marquette County,” said Walch.

Visitors to the area spend money at many area businesses and on UP 200 merchandise. Walch says that looking at the data, she thinks hotels accounted for the most money spent by visitors.

“It’s everything from restaurants, hotels, gas stations, people come in and they stay for several days and come here from out of the area which is another factor because they travel across the U.P. to get here,” said Walch.

The Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association is driven by fundraising. According to Walch, the report helps show why the U.P. 200 is important beyond the community aspect and excitement of the event.

“One of the things that we think is important is the significance of a February event like that in the middle of winter that’s having that level of economic impact,” said Walch. “The other thing is many times people are coming into Marquette for the first time, they enjoy it, they see it in the winter and then they decide to come back either the following year or they come back at different times of year in order to explore the area.”

Planning for the 2021 U.P. 200 is already starting. Walch says there are many moving parts to the event and that they are gathering information from different people currently.

“Things are changing all the time so we’re trying to figure out how all the changes and how all the aspects of this pandemic fit into what we would be needing to do,” said Walch.

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