South Haven Visitors Bureau presents 2014 Legislative Leadership Awards

LANSING—Sens. John Proos and Tonya Schuitmaker, Rep. Aric Nesbitt, Congressman Fred Upton and Mayor Bob Burr were honored with 2014 Legislative Leadership Awards from the South Haven/Van Buren County Convention & Visitors Bureau during the bureau’s annual dinner and tourism awards on Monday at the South Haven Yacht Club.

“Michigan is well on the road to recovery and tourism is one of our brightest stars. In fact, leisure travel spending in Michigan reached a record high last year – with visitors spending nearly $14 billion touring our great state,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I am proud of the important work we have done to turn around our state and our economy and promote the wonderful vacation opportunities Southwest Michigan has to offer.  The South Haven Visitors Bureau is also a leader in this effort, and it is truly an honor to be recognized by such an outstanding organization.”

Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said, “The team at the South Haven Convention Visitors Bureau has done a tremendous job promoting our great community. The time and dedication they commit really makes a difference and I am proud to work with them to continue to promote the beauty of Southwest Michigan.”

The leaders were honored for their work on critical issues facing Southwest Michigan.

“We are lucky to have local legislators who understand the importance of tourism to Michigan, and specifically to lakeshore communities like South Haven. Their support for tourism-related legislation and causes and recognition of the potential of the award-winning Pure Michigan campaign, has not wavered” said Lisa Shanley, executive director of the South Haven/Van Buren County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Of all the beautiful sights that Michigan has to offer, Lake Michigan is certainly one of the most breathtaking,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “South Haven has done an excellent job of welcoming visitors and showcasing Southwest Michigan’s great family-friendly attractions. I am looking forward to another successful tourist season as vacationers from all over the world come to enjoy the Great Lakes State.”

The legislators presented special tributes to local award winners which were also signed by Gov. Snyder. During the evening, a Pure Michigan ad highlighting South Haven was launched. The 60-second radio spot is narrated by Michigan native Tim Allen and is running in the Cincinnati, Ft. Wayne and Lansing markets. 

“The ad is a stunning example of what makes Southwest Michigan such a great place to live or visit,” Proos said. “It’s also an example of why I fought to preserve the Pure Michigan campaign that has been a success in boosting tourism and giving taxpayers a tremendous return on investment. For every dollar we invest in Pure Michigan, we get back more than five dollars in revenue.”

To learn more about the South Haven/Van Buren County Convention & Visitors Bureau and what they are doing to promote the area, visit their website at

Residents can listen to the South Haven Pure Michigan radio ad, “A Good Book,” by clicking here or by visiting the Pure Michigan YouTube channel at