MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Last week, The Marquette City Commission agreed to allow the City Manager’s office to move forward with negations for a new hotel development on Lakeshore Boulevard. Marquette residents raised many concerns at the commission meeting about whether or not a new hotel was needed in the city.
Travel Marquette has 28 different hotel and lodging options listed for the city, a number that is set to continue to grow over the next few years. Travel Marquette’s CEO Susan Estler says with the new developments on the way, the total hotel rooms in Marquette County could break 2,000.
“We have 1570 hotel rooms in the county now,” Estler says, “so we’d be looking at adding 426 hotel rooms, that is 27 percent of the overall inventory”
Pure Michigan reported that in 2021, The Upper Peninsula saw a peak in summer tourism and spending, despite the downward trends in tourism across the rest of the state. In 2022, The Mackinac Bridge Authority reported over 4 million vehicles crossed The Mackinac Bridge. The summer saw its peak in July with 595,000 cars in one month, a number that had actually taken a dip from the 641,000 cars in July of 2021.
According to Travel Marquette that decline from 2021 to 2022 was seen here in Marquette as well.
“Essentially we are seeing less people in the summer, actually year round, coming in.” Estler says, “And so things seem to be getting back to pre pandemic numbers.”
Despite the downward trend in tourism post pandemic, new hotel developments are still in the works in the area. Many of these projects began as a response to the capacity and staffing issues the hospitality industry in Marquette faced during the pandemic. Marquette residents have been voicing concerns on social media about whether or not the need for more hotel rooms should still be a priority for the city.
“Interestingly enough, in the last 10 years there have been 342 rooms that have been added to the inventory.” Estler explained “So were looking at 426 rooms to be added in the next 24 to 36 months.”
The Marquette City Commission says Lakeshore Boulevard’s newest hotel development would add 93 of those 426 hotel rooms coming to the area, but it’ll take years for the project to be completed.