Douglas budget contains additional $850,000 for marketing Vermont as tourist destination

first_imgOfficials 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 is external). is external).Source: Governor’s Officelast_img

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