Haslam-Appointed Group Wants More State Spending on Tourist Advertising

The Tennessee Tourism Committee, a group established by Gov. Bill Haslam to find ways the state and the tourism industry can work together better for mutual benefit, is calling for more state spending on tourism advertising, reports the Mountain Press.
The group has been charged with compiling recommendations in that interest that they’re expected to present to state leadership in the next six to eight months.
Dolly Parton Productions President and group leader Ted Miller said it’s clear advertising is one area where the state lags.
“One question we’re struggling with is how do we establish a larger tourism marketing budget,” Miller told the assembly. “We believe we need to spend substantially more dollars on that.”
At current the state invests only about $6 million in all tourism marketing, including print, television and Internet efforts, and even that amount is threatened every year because it’s considered a non-recurring fund in Nashville. That places the state 17th out of the 50 in terms of its spending, well behind leaders in the business like Florida, California and, surprisingly, Michigan, Tourist Development Commissioner Susan Whitaker said.
“A few years ago Michigan was spending about $4 million on advertising, but then they started to see the decline of the automotive industry and a lot of those dollars slipping away,” she said. “As sort of an experiment, they decided to put some dollars into marketing through the ‘Pure Michigan’ campaign. Since then, they’ve increased their advertising budget many times over and they’re seeing a return of about $2 or $3 to every dollar spent.”
While doubling or tripling the money is an impressive return — particularly in a place “where you freeze nine months out of the year,” as Whitaker joked — it’s nothing compared to the $19 for every $1 Tennessee gets out of tourism marketing. The industry leaders clearly believe that’s because the state has so much to offer.

See also Andrea Zelinski’s report on Tourism Commissioner Whitaker’s budget presentation to Gov. Bill Haslam.

Leave a Reply