Research Outline

Outdoor Tourism in Traverse City


To build buyer personalities for a new kayak tour business in Traverse City, Michigan, and provide an overview of the competitive landscape by identifying:
  • The demand for outdoor adventures/activities in Traverse City, including who is purchasing or participating, their average spend, and the type of activities.
  • The total number of Traverse City tourists yearly, their income range, and interests.
  • The competitive landscape for outdoor adventure/activity businesses in Traverse City, including which companies are thriving and how they are marketing themselves.
  • The competitive landscape for kayak tour businesses in Michigan, including which businesses are thriving and how they are marketing themselves.

Early Findings

Initial Findings

  • The initial round of research indicates that there is limited information available for Traverse City.
  • Some of the findings covered Michigan as a whole. They did not include very recent information, indicating that very few studies might have been conducted recently regarding outdoor activities in Traverse City.

Demand for Outdoor Activities

  • About 33% of people involved in outdoor activities in Michigan indicated their participation increased over the last five years.
  • More than half of residents in Michigan (51%) participated in outdoor activities for more than 100 days in the year. However, the average person aged 25 years and older participated in 79 outdoor outings per year.
  • The most significant reason for the increase in outdoor participation cited was the presence of children, while respondents attributed the decreasing interest in outdoor activities to declining/poor physical condition.
  • Biking is the top outdoor activity in Michigan, engaged in by 25% of the participating outdoor population. Other top outdoor activities include camping (24%), fishing (23%), walking, including dog walking (21%), hiking (20%), outdoor games (17%), hunting/trapping (15%), swimming (13%), boating (11%), and visiting playgrounds (10%).
  • The spend on bicycling in Traverse City is $1-$100 annually. However, 40% of households reported spending no less than $100 per year on bicycling, and a few others reported spending more.

Traverse City Tourists

  • The latest available information indicates that 3.3 million tourists visited Traverse City in 2012, and over 113 million tourists visited Michigan in 2014.
  • The 3.3 million tourists who visited Traverse City in 2012 spent $1.18 billion on local businesses.


  • Biking is the top outdoor activity in Michigan, and 40% of households in Traverse City spend at least $100 on bicycling annually.
  • Outdoor activity/participation in Michigan increased over the past five years.