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by Lisa A. Grimaldi | August 01, 2011

According to a U.S. Travel Association study, marketing programs bring in more visitors, generate new tax dollars, and create jobs for states and local communities.

The research analyzed campaigns conducted by the state of Michigan and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. The "Pure Michigan" promotion 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. In 2010, spending by out-of-state leisure visitors jumped 21 percent year-over-year, to $6.4 billion, and created some 10,000 tourism jobs.

In Phila­del­phia, a 15-year marketing effort resulted in a 66 percent increase in overnight visits, six times greater than the national growth rate of 11 percent over that time.

Just days before the U.S. Travel study was released, the state of Washington shuttered its tourism marketing office, making it the only state not spending money on promoting itself to visitors. The move led Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel, to note, "Washington will pay a hefty price as a result of cutting their budget....Travel marketing needs to be seen as an investment to grow the local economy, with the state tourism office seen as a 'revenue and jobs generator' vs. a 'cost center.' "