Colorado Senate OK's tourism funding for 2010

House Bill 1339 passes state Senate; bill would allocated $15 million to tourism promotion

DENVER — The Colorado Senate voted Friday to fund the state's tourism-promotion efforts to the tune of $15 million for 2010. The bill passed out of the state House of Representatives last week.

This would be the second year in a row the Legislature will spend $15 million to market the state in national and international markets — a big relief for Colorado communities like Summit County, for which tourism is the No. 1 economic driver. House lawmakers last week had to fight off an effort to completely gut the fund for this fiscal year.

Legislators have been scrambling to balance the state budget in the wake of declining tax revenues related to the global economic downturn.

State Rep. Christine Scanlan, who represents Summit County, said it didn't make sense in the long run to stop advertising Colorado to potential visitors. According to a Colorado Tourism Office study, every dollar spent on tourism promotion generates $13 in state and local tax revenue.

Scanlan said California and Michigan, whose budget woes have been even more severe than Colorado's, are testament to the economic value of tourism marketing. Both states have continued to reach out to travelers during lean times, in hopes of boosting their states' economies.

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