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by Lisa A. Grimaldi | July 07, 2011

Reducing state and local tourism marketing programs in the name of saving taxpayer dollars impedes economic growth, according to a U.S. Travel Association study. The research, based on Longwoods International's analysis of recent campaigns by the state of Michigan and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., reveals that marketing programs drive greater visitation, generate new tax dollars, and create jobs for states and local communities. The study highlights the success of the "Pure Michigan" national promotion, which generated 7.2 million trips to Michigan by out-of-state visitors, who spent $2 billion there and generated $138 million in new tax revenue for the state -- more than three times the cost of the advertising itself, in 2009. In 2010, spending by out-of-state leisure visitors jumped 21 percent year-over-year, to $6.4 billion. At the same time, Michigan tourism-related employment rose by 10,000 jobs. In Philadelphia, a 1995 report by The Pew Charitable Trusts identified leisure travel as a potential replacement industry for lost manufacturing jobs. This led to the creation of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. in 1996 by Pew, the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to promote the region to leisure travelers. Through a sustained marketing program over the ensuing 15 years, overnight visitation to Greater Philadelphia has grown by 66 percent, six times faster than the national growth rate of 11 percent. Click here to read the full study.