Proposed Spending Bill Could Hit Local Tourism Hard
Convention and Visitors Bureaus all over the Commonwealth are concerned about nine million dollars in potential cuts to tourism in the two year state spending bill, significantly affecting CVB advertising money statewide.
According to Erin Carrico, Executive Director of the Murray CVB, this advertising budget blow would severely disable the bureau’s ability to advertise locally, nationally, and internationally to
bring tourists and conventions to Murray. If tourism drops, Carrico fears Murray’s recent growth may be slowed or reversed by the trickle-down effects from tourism drops. “If we don’t have tourists coming in, either of conference, sporting events, or retirees, who is going to be going through those new businesses, the bakeries, the new gas stations being built?
Cheryl Cook, Director of the Hopkinsville CVB, says her office could lose all $60,000 received annually from state matching funds which are derived from a 1% state room tax. She offers the state of Colorado as a cautionary tale who, according to a study by Longwoods International, lost up to $2 billion dollars in revenue annually after cutting its $12 million dollar tourism marketing fund and has spent over a decade recovering.
Durango, Colorado is a city similar in population to Murray, and Anne Klein who works in their CVB thinks cutting tourism spending is one of the worst things a state government can do, noting how crucial tax revenue from tourists is to a state’s budget. She recalls the trickle-down from Colorado’s cuts to tourism marketing took 2-3 years to hit the local economies, but other states were quick to attract tourists away, making Colorado’s recovery after it restored tourism spending even slower.
Kentucky’s spending bill is currently in committee in the state senate.