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      Communities expand reach to increase summer traffic

      In just a week, traffic will begin to pick up in many northern Michigan communities for the summer season.

      Area visitor's bureaus have been preparing by beefing up their marketing campaigns to bring in more out of state business.

      One way they have brought in more money is through an increased bed tax. Area hotel's voted on increasing the percentage from two to five percent.

      ??We've effectively doubled our budget, that we are able to spend to bring new visitors to our area,?? Stafford's Perry Hotel General Manager Reginald Smith explained.

      Now the visitors bureau is expected to bring in $1.7 million in revenue compared to last year's amount which was a little more than $800,000.

      ??With the increase in marketing dollars, we are able to reach out to markets we weren't able to before,?? Smith said.

      And they have began to spend the money on magazine ads in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

      They are specifically targeting the Chicago metro area. They are running magazine ads in popular Windy City applications. And they will have a trolly ad rolling up and down Michigan Ave. throughout June and July.

      They hope these efforts drive additional traffic up north to build on the success that many of the surrounding communities had last year.