ArtPrize Makes National 100 Best List

Originally posted in Grand Rapids Business Journal on September 12, 2014

Don’t be surprised to see tour buses rolling into downtown Grand Rapids for ArtPrize 2015, or even ArtPrize 2014, which begins Sept. 24.

The American Bus Association just named ArtPrize one of North America’s 100 Best Events for 2015.

A selection committee made up of tourism industry experts created the ABA list, which will be included as a supplement in the September/October issues of Destinations magazine.

Judges considered the event’s broad appeal, its accessibility to motorcoaches and skill at handling large groups, and a variety of other relevant criteria. Hundreds of events from across the country were submitted for consideration.

The ABA said ArtPrize offers excellent entertainment value to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world.

“The attractiveness of ArtPrize as a don’t-miss entertainment value is only part of why its selection this year is such a distinction for Grand Rapids,” said Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS, ABA’s president and CEO. “The real news here is that ArtPrize has been recognized as a potential magnet for tourism dollars, at a time when re-energizing domestic tourism is so important to our spirit and our economy.”

He said being included on the ABA list “gives Grand Rapids an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners.”

According to studies completed by researchers at Dunham and Associates, one overnight visit by a motorcoach group can inject up to $25,000 in a local destination’s economy. Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admissions, fees, shopping, souvenirs, services and local taxes.

A study by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group revealed that ArtPrize 2013 added $22 million to the local economy, attracted more than 380,400 attendees and created 253 jobs.

ArtPrize has generated many out-of-town visitors in the past: 50 percent of visitors from at least 30 miles away and 20,000 from Detroit.

In 2014, ArtPrize will see artists from 51 countries and 42 U.S. states.

“ArtPrize has proven to be an overwhelming success for Grand Rapids,” said Doug Small, president of Experience Grand Rapids. “It was recognized by Time magazine as One of Five Festive Events You Won’t Want to Miss in 2013, and Grand Rapids and the region was recognized as the Top U.S. Destination to Visit in 2014 by Lonely Planet.

“This new honor will add to our national profile as a destination for not just motorcoach business, but travel professionals, conventions and leisure guests to visit.”

The Top 100 Events list is available online.

*Image courtesy of the American Bus Association