Officials in the tourism and hospitality industry said they were pleased that the alternative budget approach proposed by Governor Jim Douglas contains an additional $850,000 to market the state. With the summer tourism season unofficially kicking off over Memorial Day Weekend, Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde said the money couldn t come at a better time. Tourism is one of the largest industries in our state, and spending on promoting Vermont is an investment in job creation and retention, Hyde said. Our recent economic impact study showed that visitor spending in Vermont supported approximately 37,000 jobs for Vermonters.He noted that there were roughly 60,000 jobs in the hospitality and entertainment sector in Vermont, spread out in literally every county of the state, and visitor spending contributed $206.9 million in tax and fee revenues to state coffers in the General, Education and Transportation Funds. A strong tourism economy is vital to Vermont, and marketing the state as a travel destination benefits us all, said Ed Stahl, executive director of the Stowe Area Association. Lamoille County is very dependant on tourism for total revenue, so we re very encouraged that the Governor is appropriating a total of $1.35 million to promote Vermont. This is an investment that we will see a return on many times over.Kelly Pawlak, general manager of Mount Snow Resort, agreed. The Mount Snow Valley relies heavily on tourism, and the news about additional funding to market Vermont is music to our ears, she said. Vermont has such a strong brand, so this decision will show a quick return on investment. Visitors are looking for affordable and drive-to vacations right now, and Vermont really fits the bill. These additional funds will help showcase all we have to offer. Hyde said that while officials were optimistic about the upcoming summer tourism season, the state would be competing for scarce visitor spending with other states boasting far larger marketing budgets, and that the department planned to make some funding available for local chambers of commerce, with the state and chambers splitting the cost as a 50-50 match. Using the federal stimulus money to boost our tourism sector is just good economic development, Hyde said. The Legislature s plan to spend $500,000 is a good start, but the Governor s proposal of $1.35 million is a significant increase that will really have an impact on bringing visitors and their money to Vermont.Visitors to the Green Mountain State spent more than $1.61 billion for goods and services in 2007, according to a recent study prepared by Economic and Policy Resources (EPR) of Williston that measures the impact of visitor spending on the Vermont economy.The complete report is available online on the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing s industry Web site at www.VermontPartners.org(link is external). www.vermontvacation.com(link is external).Source: Governor’s Office
Press Association Manuel Pellegrini’s men can move two points clear at the top of the table, with just one game to play, with victory at the Etihad Stadium. City became overwhelming favourites as current leaders Liverpool surrendered a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at Crystal Palace on Monday. The picture has changed considerably since City were held at home by Sunderland three weeks ago – a draw which left them six points behind the Reds with just one game in hand – and Pellegrini is confident the 2012 champions can handle any nerves. The Chilean said: “We have experienced players, they’ve been in a similar situation two years ago. “We have the pressure to win, but we’ve had it the whole year. “From the beginning of the season I always said that this team wants to win the title. Now we will try to do it.” City will be without top scorer Sergio Aguero, who limped out of last weekend’s win at Everton with a groin injury. Aguero has been hampered by muscle problems in the second half of the season, missing 18 of the last 31 games, but has not yet been ruled out of the final game against West Ham. Pellegrini said: “It was not 100 per cent sure if he was completely fit, that is why I didn’t want to have a risk with him, but we will see during the week if he can play on Sunday.” Such has been Pellegrini’s focus on the visit of Villa that he claims not to have watched Liverpool’s dramatic late capitulation earlier in the week. The Merseysiders had looked like moving three points clear at the top, and putting City under greater pressure, when they conceded three times in the final 11 minutes at Selhurst Park. He said: “The Aston Villa game doesn’t depend on the result of Liverpool. “I was watching a tape and working. I knew the result once the game was finished. Other people told me at the end. “The only way to continue in our position is to win the three points (against Villa). All the other things we can analyse when the race is over.” Pellegrini has only occasionally let emotions get the better of him during his first year in English football and he is confident in his approach. He said: “If I try to be calm it’s because I think it’s the best way for the players to play these two games.” Manchester City will aim to take a giant stride towards regaining the Barclays Premier League trophy as they host Aston Villa on Wednesday night.