Toronto, ON, October 14, 2014 — George Zimmermann, who headed Travel Michigan until his retirement last April, has been named Chairman of Longwoods International USA Inc., the U.S. affiliate of leading tourism research firm Longwoods International, based in Toronto. Zimmermann led the team at Travel Michigan and McCann Detroit that created, launched and managed the award-winning Pure Michigan tourism branding campaign. Pure Michigan is credited with attracting 18 million out-of-state visitors since its launch in 2006, travelers who spent more than $5 billion at Michigan businesses.
“George Zimmermann is one of the most respected tourism marketers in North America,” said Dr. Bill Siegel, CEO and founder of Longwoods International. “His experience in both creating and measuring the effectiveness of tourism marketing programs will be invaluable to our team and clients.”
The Pure Michigan campaign has won many awards and honors, including being named among the top ten all-time travel campaigns worldwide by Forbes (2009) and rated number one in Social Media Tourism Promotion (2010). In 2011 it won a prestigious David Ogilvy Award for Excellence in Advertising Research from the Advertising Research Foundation in New York City.
Zimmermann was Michigan’s director of tourism from 2001 to 2014, and Ohio’s director of tourism from 1991 to 1998. He also has more than 15 years’ experience in all phases of broadcast journalism and television production.
“As a former Longwoods client, I know first-hand the quality of their work and their people,” George Zimmermann said. “It was the results of Longwoods’ annual return-on-investment research which convinced elected officials in Michigan to increase the state’s tourism promotion budget from $5.7 million in 2005 to $29 million in 2014.”
In 2012, Zimmermann was named “One of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales and Marketing” by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). He is the only person to have been honored twice as State Tourism Director of the Year by the National Council of State Tourism Directors. He also served on the Council’s Board and Executive Committee, and was twice elected as Chair. In addition, Zimmermann has served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, and the Board of Directors of the U.S. Travel Association.
Longwoods International is a leading travel and tourism research company with offices in Toronto; Scottsdale, AZ; Camarillo, CA; and Bay City, MI. It conducts Longwoods Travel USA®, the largest ongoing survey of American travelers, as well as advertising return on investment research in 12 countries around the globe.
Bill Siegel, CEO, Longwoods International
M (416) 301-1623
George Zimmermann, Chairman, Longwoods International USA Inc.
M (989) 890-7367