What Happens When Destination Marketing Stops

Destination marketing is important to Virginia Beach and other cities that rely heavily on the economic impact it provides. If funding is cut short, or eliminated, the results can be disastrous. Here are some examples of other cities that have experienced this issue as a reminder to us how important the work of promoting Virginia Beach to potential visitors is for our city.

When Colorado eliminated its tourism marketing budget in the early 1990s, its domestic market share plunged 30 percent, and they lost $1.4 billion annually – a number which eventually rose to $2 billion annually. Once Colorado reinstated its tourism marketing, it took more than 20 years to regain its market share.

Pennsylvania cut its tourism marketing budget from $30 million to $7 million in 2009. Every dollar cut from their tourism marketing budget cost them $3.60 in tax revenue. From 2009 to 2014, Pennsylvania lost more than $600 million in tax revenue.

Washington zeroed out its tourism marketing budget in 2011 and competing Montana has grown its tourism numbers by 70 percent more than Washington.

In the early 1980s, the City of Sausalito, California, eliminated tourism promotion because locals complained about too many visitors enjoying Sausalito’s high-end art galleries and fine dining. The result was the same number of visitors as before, but the wrong visitor who did not frequent the high-end shops and fueled a growth in low budget souvenir and t-shirt shops.

Due to a legislative budget impass in Illinois in 2015-2016, the state’s tourism promotion “virtually stopped.” The negative impact has been immediate. By January 2016, the state hotel tax receipts were down $2 million or 15 percent over 2015. Smith Travel Research estimated a 6.3 percent decline in hotel revenue in Chicago. Consumer inquiries about Illinois for January-March 2016 were down 84 percent compared to same period in 2015

Source: US Travel Association