Vail Daily’s view: State should not cut solid investment in tourism funding |

Vail Daily’s view: State should not cut solid investment in tourism funding

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado

The Colorado Legislature has a tough job this year. Projections show the state facing a budget shortfall of as much as $600 million for the 2009 fiscal year.

That’s going to mean cuts big and small throughout the state’s budget. But we’d encourage legislators to leave one line item untouched ” the state’s tourism marketing budget.

Penny-wise, pound-foolish voters allowed a small sales tax for tourism marketing to expire in the 1990s. When the money vanished, the state’s tourism numbers declined. A few legislators ” notably former Sen. Jack Taylor and his successor, Al White, both of whom represent Eagle County ” tried for years to pump money back into marketing the state.

They had little success until 2006, when the legislature finally approved putting $20 million per year from the state’s gambling revenue into marketing the state. The result has been the fairly successful “Let’s Talk Colorado” campaign, which has lured people to seek out both well- and little-known spots across the state.

The idea of cutting that funding after little more than a year seems absurd to us, and not just because we live in the Vail Valley. In fact, while the state campaign enhances the marketing programs of Vail Resorts and other big players, it’s virtually the only exposure lesser-known tourist spots get outside the state.

Compiling the list of government programs that actually bring money back to taxpayers doesn’t take much time.

Tourism funding is one of those very few programs, bringing in an estimated $6 in new spending for every dollar spent on advertising. If our Legislature is serious about keeping money flowing into the treasuries from Denver to Ouray, lawmakers need to understand how important it is for our state to sell itself to the rest of the country.

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