Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There should be NO State Department of Tourism

Another great investigative job by Jeremy Finley at WSMV Channel 4. And, beyond, the issue of overspending raised by this report, it is appropriate to ask why should taxpayers subsidize the travel industry? Why not have a State Department of Grocery Stores or a State Department of Yard Maintenance?

The tourism industry is quite capable of promoting itself without taxpayer help. And most of the money spent is on generic "come to Tennessee" ads which do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to increase tourism. There are limits to what Government should be involved in and we need to start applying these limits.

The tourism trail brochures called Walking Tall promote all Tennessee has to offer and are full of individual information on tourist destinations across the state. The ad agency White Thompson, which won the state bid for the brochures, indicated it would cost about $15,000 to develop six brochures, plus about $4,000 for the logo.

But when the I-Team began inspecting the invoices, it found that just a year later, the estimate to finish the brochures had doubled.

The estimate for the brochure a year later jumped to about $40,000 to finish the same brochure.
In the end, it cost $64,000. Add on the printing, and the final total was more than $100,000 in tax dollars to put the brochure in tourist destinations across the state.