Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants to rein in spending while boosting tourism in the state by getting the industry to fund its own marketing campaign, a strategy one lawmaker says could be followed nationally.
The Republican governor’s tourism marketing plan, which is part of a larger state House bill, would create a five-year test program funded by sales taxes generated through the tourism industry rather than Ohio’s general government fund, reports the Columbus Dispatch
“I believe [this program] will become a national model for tourism marketing,” Republican state Rep. Mike Dovilla, a bill co-sponsor, told the newspaper.
The bill also renames the Ohio tourism department and establishes an advisory board made up of people from the tourism and retail industries. However, the biggest change is in how Ohio pays to market itself.
Ohio’s tourism department now gets $5 million a year from the state general fund for marketing purposes. But under the Kasich model, the industry could receive up to $10 million a year for promotion and advertising, depending on how much the industry generates in sales tax revenue.
Tourism Director Amir Eylon said if the pilot program begins July 1, the start date in the governor’s plan, TourismOhio would get $5 million in transition funds in its first year. But the following year, the entire marketing budget would be funded through tourism dollars, capped at $10 million per year.
“We’ve found a way of creating additional resources without raising taxes,” Eylon told the Dispatch. “It’s growth-based, and it’s not taking away funding from any other programs in the state.”
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