Some States Fund Tourism Marketing, Others Cut Back

With state budgets facing the lagging effects of the economic downturn, some government officials are pumping money into tourism budgets. Visitors descending on a region like Florida or Michigan will open their wallets at hotels, restaurants and other attractions. The spending can have a positive compound effect as businesses collect taxes on these services and as employee wages also get taxed. Tourism is increasingly seen as one way to bring more money into a region.

This year, tourism is especially important for Florida. Karl Greenberg, writing for MarketingDaily, notes that the recession is not the only problem to hit the region. Gulf Coast operators are also struggling with the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The state is set to begin its winter tourism marketing campaign, Visit Florida. In doing so, it will treat consumers in major markets like Boston and Washington D.C.  to images of vacationers enjoying the sea, sun and sand via TV, print and online.

The picture isn’t so positive in Michigan, however. Travel Michigan spent nearly $30 million promoting the state’s destinations in 2009. In 2010, the budget dropped to $17 million. Historically, the Travel Michigan group has run both national and regional campaigns targeting spring and summer tourists and regional campaigns for the fall and winter seasons.  Officials estimate that recent campaigns have resulted in $1.3 billion in additional spending in the state during the past 4 years – a level which generated $93 million in new tax dollars. Despite these statistics, the winter campaign may be canceled as a result of fiscal constraints.

This tale of 2 states demonstrates how tourism promotion is being treated differently from one market to the next as government officials seek to balance their budgets.

[Greenberg, Karl. Florida Sees Recovery, Preps for Winter Push. MarketingDaily​.com. 23 Nov. 2010. Web. 8 Dec. 2010; Pure Michigan Winter Advertising will be Canceled. TravelMichigan. 30 Nov. 2010. Web. 7 Dec. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.