More Money for Missouri Tourism
A 20% cut in Missouri's tourism budget might have contributed to the dropoff in visitors.
"We're not able to purchase as much media as we would like to," explained Robert Hain of the Department of Tourism. "Obvious expenses are fixed, but the media are due to the amount budgeted we have available to place ads in newspapers and magazines, television."
There's been a 30% decrease in the number of people visiting the official Missouri Web site, which the tourism department said was the best way to advertise the state's attractions. The number of out-of-state visitors also has dropped.
"We get people from all over the Midwest," said Carver. "I get lots of people from Iowa and Nebraska. We get Chicagoans and people from all over the country."
But, high gasoline prices also have kept Missouri tourists closer to home.
"Rather than people driving 500-600 miles traveling to Missouri," said Hain, "we will find the short trips coming from all over Missouri and even the big-city people will stay close to home."
This spring, Missouri lawmakers increased next year's tourism budget by 25%, so the department expects more tourists in 2007. And, for every dollar tourists spend here, the state receives $2.90 in tax revenues.
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