Rhododendron bloom on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com.

From the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development, shared May 24 via the agency’s e-newsletter:

The Division of Tourism would lose $1 million in marketing funds under the budget proposal unveiled by the N.C. Senate this week, and local tourism leaders are being urged to contact key legislators today regarding this reduction. In addition to paid advertising, this $1 million cut would affect the Division’s other core marketing and advertising programs.

Research from Longwoods International shows that a $1 million reduction in marketing dollars would likely result in 2,261 fewer jobs and $191 million less in visitor spending plus $10.3 million less in state taxes and $5.9 million less in local taxes.

Every $1 spent on paid media advertising in 2010 resulted in $191 in new visitor spending, $10.31 in new state tax revenue, and $6.25 in new local tax revenue, according to the Longwoods study. This is a 17:1 return on investment. A summary of facts and talking points regarding North Carolina’s longstanding investment in tourism marketing are attached.

The Division has also prepared a five-minute video presentation, which summarizes the significant contributions of the travel and tourism industry to North Carolina’s economy. Key points include:

  • Visitors spend $46.6 million in North Carolina every day, adding $2.6 million to the general fund daily and saving North Carolina families $390 in taxes each year.
  • More than 40,000 businesses in North Carolina rely on visitors for 25 percent or more of their business.
  • Tourism sustains nearly 200,000 jobs in North Carolina.

Since legislative leaders have said the State budget is on a fast track, it is important to contact your local senator and key Senate leadership as soon as possible to voice your position on this far-reaching budget reduction. Key senators include:

  • Sen. Phil Berger (Guilford, Rockingham), President Pro Tempore, (919) 733-5708.
  • Sen. Peter Brunstetter (Forsyth), Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-7850.
  • Sen. Neal Hunt (Wake), Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-5850.
  • Sen. Richard Stevens (Wake), Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-5653.
  • Sen. Tom Apodaca (Buncombe, Henderson, Polk), Appropriations Vice Chair, (919) 733-5745.
  • Sen. Linda Garrou (Forsyth), Appropriations Vice Chair, (919) 733-5620.
  • Sen. Don East (Alleghany, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin), NER Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-5743.
  • Sen. David Rouzer (Johnston, Wayne), NER Appropriations Co-Chair, (919) 733-5748.

To find your local legislators, click here.

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Wmforo.

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