Freddy Swan

I came across an article on state tourism marketing yesterday, and the headline read Virginia Tourism: Instant Revenue Generator. The reason I found that headline interesting was because my state – Georgia – had just announced that they were slashing marketing dollars budgeted for the state’s tourism and travel marketing program.Who’s right – Virginia or Georgia?  Let’s look at some numbers (granted they may be a little old – 2009, but still interesting).

VIRGINIA TOURISM

  1. $17.7 billion in direct economic contribution
  2. 204 thousand jobs
  3. $1.24 billion in state and local taxes
  4. Tax revenues – from state tourism – are enough to pay for the salaries and benefits of 11,340 state police, the education of more than 76,880 Virginia students and maintain 57,867 miles of Virginia roads.

I don’t have comparable numbers for Georgia, but that would be interesting data. It sure sounds like cutting dollars from a state’s tourism marketing budget might not make sound, economic sense.  Here are some other points about Virginia Tourism:

  1. Virginia is a leader in tourism
  2. 8th in domestic spending among the 50 states
  3. 14th in international spending (increased 16% in 2009 – largest of any state)
  4. Virginia Tourism Corporation named Best Tourism Office by Southeast Tourism Society

Pretty impressive, and as if those points weren’t enough, the state appropriated an additional $3.6 million for tourism in fiscal year 2011. And this upward spending trend in Tourism continues into 2012.

Maybe Georgia should take another look at our state’s tourism spending and increase the budget. What do you fellow Georgia citizens think about all this?

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