Many of you may have seen Labor Day press coverage of gubernatorial candidate Bill White calling for a zeroing-out of the state tourism budget.

Since Mr. White first made his comments, the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association and the Texas Travel Industry Association have been in contact with his campaign and we are hopeful he will work with us to protect and promote our state’s vital tourism industry.

Still, it is imperative that the lodging and tourism industry immediately call and email Mr. White’s campaign to let them know how devastating this proposed cut would be on Texas jobs and to the vitality of the Texas economy.

Please consider making the following points:

1.  Zeroing out state tourism advertising funding would be devastating to Texas jobs. The leisure/hospitality industry is the fourth largest employer in Texas.

2.  Zeroing out state tourism advertising funding would be devastating to the Texas economy.  At $22.4 billion annually, the Texas tourism industry is the second largest contributor to the Texas gross domestic product (GDP).

3. Texas is the third most visited state in the nation. We will not retain that status if we do not invest in marketing our state as a tourism destination.

4.  Tourism promotion is not simply a money-out program.  Tourism generates over 7 dollars in returned state tax revenue for every dollar the state spends on tourism promotion. The Texas budget depends on the seven-to-one return in state tax revenues to help fund education, health and human services and other state programs.

5.  State tourism advertising promotion is funded entirely from one half of 1 percent of the state hotel tax. This funding only increases as state tourism tax proceeds increase.  The funding grew from $14.6 million in 2001 (not $6,000 as White cited) to $22 million in 2009, an increase that is less than 7 percent annually during the eight-year time period.

Please contact Mr. White’s campaign now:

Phone: 713-659-9000
PO Box 131197
Houston, TX 77219-1197