Western states have cut nearly $10 million in spending on travel
and tourism development this year, according to an industry report.
In the 2002-03 fiscal year, which for most states ends this
month, Western states spent an estimated $187.9 million for tourism
office budgets, down nearly 5 percent from last year, according to
the Travel Industry Association of America’s annual survey of U.S.
state and territory tourism offices.
The reduced spending overall in the West mirrored nationwide
cuts of 8 percent, to an estimated $554.2 million, according to the
The spending cuts were largely a result of the sluggish economy
and the downturn intravel-generated revenue, such as lodging taxes.
While leisure travel has remained strong over the past year,
travelers are spending less. And the number of corporate and
incoming international travelers is down.
While the agent community is not directly affected, the drop in
promotional dollars and incentive programs for tourism can have a
ripple effect through the travel industry.
“It will not help the recovery,” said Bill Maloney, executive
vice president and COO of ASTA. “Travel agents are looking for a
robust recovery and doing whatever they can to stimulate
“Tour operators are spending money and foreign destinations are
spending money,” he added. “But we would love to see more from the
Patty Hubbard, vice president of TIA’s national councils, said,
“Like every other sector of the travel and tourism industry, state
tourism offices are feeling the economic pinch.”
“The challenge to all states is that competition remains fierce.
Each of them competes with one another not to mention other
countries and other discretionary activities for visitors’
Still, Western states may be faring better than many across the
nation. Of 14 Western states, eight reported budget increases.
Montana’s tourism spending grew an estimated 35 percent to $8.2
million, followed by Alaska with a 26 percent increase to $10.5
million, according to the survey.
Among the Western states hardest hit were Oregon, with a drop of
23 percent to $3.1 million, and Hawaii, down 21 percent to $56
million, the survey found. But nationally Hawaii remained the
leader in tourism office spending, followed by Illinois with a
budget of $49.7 million, down nearly 9 percent from last year.
The survey includes responses from 45 states; not included are
Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee and the five
U.S. territories. Some states revised their budgets after the
survey, so actual funding totals may have changed, the association
Public sector funds are the primary source of all tourism office
funding, and indeed the sole source for 29 of the 45 responding
Of the $554.2 million combined total budget, public sector funds
represent nearly 95 percent, or $524.2 million.
State Tourism Office Budgets, 14 Western States
(in millions of dollars)
2001-02 2002-03 % change (actual) (projected)
Alaska $8.39 $10.55 25.8
Arizona 10.33 9.00 -12.9
California 16.70 15.70 -6.0
Colorado 7.68 7.69 0.1
Hawaii 70.81 55.98 -21.0
Idaho 5.21 5.51 5.8
Montana 6.09 8.24 35.2
Nevada 9.10 10.14 11.5
New Mexico 14.18 14.34 1.1
Oregon 4.09 3.15 -23.1
Texas 27.43 31.09 13.3
Utah 7.28 7.32 0.6
Washington 3.86 3.52 -8.8
Wyoming 6.40 5.65 -11.7
Total $197.55 $187.87 -4.9
Source: 2002-03 Travel Industry Association of America