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MICHIGAN TOURISM TAKES FOURTH QUARTER REST STOP

 DETROIT, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Michigan Tourism Index compiled by Comerica Bank averaged 160.4 in the fourth quarter of 1992, a decline of nearly one point from a third quarter level of 161.3.
 Despite this year-end pause, the average level of state tourism during all of 1992 rose 4.7 percent compared to 1991. Also, the year-to-year comparison between fourth quarters indicates a healthy 3.9 percent improvement.
 All factors comprising the tourism index showed year-to-year gains, especially hotel-motel occupancy rates and Mackinac Bridge crossings," said David L. Littmann, first vice president and senior economist, Comerica Bank in Detroit.
 Fourth quarter bridge crossings totaled 754,000, compared with 693,000 in the same period the prior year. The occupancy rate index (not to be mistaken for actual adjusted occupancy rates, which rose from 51.4 to 57.2 percent between fourth quarters 1992 and 1993) jumped from 76.7 to 85.4 on a year-over-year comparison basis.
 "It is encouraging to note that fourth quarter levels for each component of the tourism index exceeded its annual average for the year," Littmann said. "However, I am concerned about the negative effects on tourism in general, and vehicular traffic in particular, if a steep energy or direct gasoline tax hike is enacted. The BTU taxes being proposed could easily add 8 to 10 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline and reduce discretionary income sufficiently to clip motor vehicle sales by 150,000 units," Littmann said.
 Annual
 Fourth Quarter Average
 1992 1991 Pct. Change 1992
 Michigan Tourism 160.4 154.4 3.9 156.8
 Index
 Occupancy Rate at 85.4 76.7 11.3 81.3
 Lodgings
 Airline Traffic 240.9 238.4 1.1 236.6
 Vehicular Traffic 142.7 142.4 0.2 140.8
 Mackinac Bridge 172.6 160.2 7.7 165.8
 Crossings
 Compiled by Comerica Bank, the Michigan Tourism Index is a quarterly summary of four seasonally adjusted travel and lodging data series, which serve as a non-inflationary proxy for statewide tourism activity.
 -0- 4/1/93
 /CONTACT: David L. Littmann, First Vice President & Senior Economist, Comerica Bank, 313-222-7241/
 (CMA)


CO: Comerica Bank ST: Michigan IN: FIN SU: ECO

ML -- DE007 -- 1913 04/01/93 09:50 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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