Tourism funding has economic benefits to N.H.

To the editor:

New Hampshire, like every other state, is faced with the challenge of increasing revenue without overtaxing residents. Tourism has proven to be one of the most effective and equitable means of accomplishing that goal.

In New Hampshire, over $165 million of tax revenue was generated in 2003 thanks to tourism. And $36 million of that revenue went back to local communities. Best of all, 85 percent of tourism spending is generated by non-residents, representing over $140 million in tax revenue in 2003 that did not have to be paid by New Hampshire residents.

So as New Hampshire looks to raise revenue without raising taxes, it’s crucial to fund tourism promotion. Studies show that for every $1 the state invests in tourism promotion, it receives over $8 in tax revenue. That kind of return on investment is vitally important to the state and to local communities.

As more revenue is generated, more money flows back to cities and towns across the state. For example, in fiscal year 2004, Manchester received $3.196,162.02 from tourism revenue.

Despite tourism’s importance to the state’s economy and to state revenue, the Division of Travel and Tourism Development saw its budget reduced by $400,000 last year. While we applaud the state’s efforts to reduce spending and live within its means, this was a reduction that in all likelihood will cost the state money in the long run.

Using the state’s ROI model, that $400,000 reduction cost the state $3.2 million in tax revenue ($400,000 x $8).

We hope that in the coming budget process the governor’s office and the Legislature will continue to invest in tourism, recognize what an important source of revenue it is and understand the economics of cutting the tourism budget costs New Hampshire far more than it saves.

We must realize that tourism enriches New Hampshire.

Tom Boucher, Chairman
New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association

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