Most states are cutting tourism funding in the face of budget shortfalls, and Missouri’s no exception. Governor Nixon is calling for a $3.5 million decrease for the Division of Tourism.
The State Tourism Director told a joint hearing of the House and Senate tourism committees that marketing efforts will be scaled back. The June issue of Midwest Living would be dropped. Advertising in Chicago would be cut by nearly a million dollars. Magazine inserts and TV ads would be reduced.
Rep. Dennis Wood (R-Kimberling City), who represents the Branson area, says he’s not happy about the cuts, but is optimistic that tourism numbers will hold strong.
Wood is urging the Governor to restore the cuts since marketing is vital to bringing in tourism dollars, but says he does not want the state to go into debt and he understands cuts have to be made to balance the budget.
Wood says Missouri’s tourism industry supports more than 300,000 employees. Wood says it’s important to remember that we’ll still be spending more to market tourism this year than ever before — about $20 million.