Colorado could stop tourism marketing as budget writers look to slash $3 billion in spending | SkyHiNews.com
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Colorado could stop tourism marketing as budget writers look to slash $3 billion in spending

Tourism leaders worry about the massive economic impact of Colorado disappearing from the public eye as the Joint Budget Committee ponders the idea of the state marketing itself

Jason Blevins, Colorado Sun
A mass of music loves listens intently as musicians perform during the Winter Park Jazz Festival in 2019. This summer's events hosted by the Winter Park Fraser Chamber, including Jazz Fest, have been canceled.
Sky-Hi News file photo

Budget-slashing in the governor’s economic development office is calling for a sweeping reduction of Colorado’s tourism and marketing budget.

The Joint Budget Committee is weighing an 87% cut to the $18.5 million Colorado Tourism Office budget as gambling revenue evaporates under COVID-19 closures. Nearly $15 million of the state’s tourism promotion fund comes from gambling taxes.

The last time the state cut tourism promotion so drastically — to zero from $12 million in 1993 — the state’s largest-in-the-nation share of U.S. tourists dropped to 17th place and cost Colorado $2 billion in lost revenue a year until tourism marketing was revived in 2000.

The recommendation for a one-year cut in tourism funding comes as the JBC looks for ways to cut an estimated $3 billion from next year’s budget. On Wednesday the committee cut the state’s film incentive program by 80% and eliminated the Advanced Industries grant program for the coming year. 

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The proposal from the committee’s staff would allow the Colorado Tourism Office to retain its 15 full-time employees, but cut all contracted marketing, advertising and tourism promotion. 

Read the rest of the story at The Colorado Sun.

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