Monday, May 03, 2010

Another View – Durham Tourism Funds 43% of Teachers, 1/3rd of Public Safety

It is budget time in Durham and as usual the discussion is limited to what to cut vs. how to generate more revenue. I was told once by a County executive that he never worried about the revenue side because it is political. He clarified that by political he meant “raising the rates.”

So now may be a good time to put the $40 million annually that tourism generates for the two local governments in Durham (City and County) into context. But I probably first need to reiterate that tourism development is economic development.

Tax revenue generated each year by tourism just to fund local Durham City and County government (as quantified by IHS Global Insight and DKS using scientific methodology,) is enough to:Implan Chart

  • Pay the FTE costs for 700 of Durham’s 1600 public school teachers or about 43%.

  • Or, on the City side, 1/3rd of all public safety personnel, e.g. police, fire, emergency communications and emergency management.

It isn’t just sad at budget time that more than a few officials fail to “recall” the significance of visitor centric economic and cultural development spearheaded by DCVB. But that means they don’t always realize that destination marketing is also a sustainable “budget revenue” solution.

By neglecting to fully re-invest the portion of these tourism revenues, eligible under State House Guidelines, back into marketing to draw Durham’s full share of visitors, the City and County are missing out on another combined $17 million each year (the average of 5 different methodologies.)

And the $17 million yield is without spending another dime on tourism infrastructure. Just deploying the full amount eligible for DCVB marketing will fuel overall annual tourism generated tax revenues just for local government from $40 million to $57 million annually.

Durham is not only fortunate to have a fully accredited community marketing agency, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau but its nationally recognized CEO Shelly Green is recognized by experts as a best practice at connecting these dots.

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