By THOMAS P. CALDWELL
LACONIA DAILY SUN
Each dollar the state spends on tourism marketing returns $10.15 in taxes, according to an independent advertising effectiveness study commissioned by the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development.
Commissioner Jeffrey Rose of the Department of Resources and Economic Development said the research shows the marketing effort has increased the amount of travel to the state and contributed to the 4.5 percent increase in tourist spending over the Memorial Day weekend.
The division estimated more than 650,000 out-of-state visitors were here last weekend, spending an estimated $100 million.
The increased marketing effort, coupled with positive economic conditions, low gasoline prices, and favorable weather, contributed to the boost in Memorial Day tourism, Rose said.
Karmen Gifford, executive director of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, said the Joint Promotional Program, funded by a percentage of the state’s Rooms and Meals tax revenues, allows local businesses to reach a wider audience, not only within the state, but throughout New England and even overseas.
“We’ve applied for JPP grants for the Summer Guide and the Pumpkin Festival Guide, to promote the Lakes Region as a destination area, and let people know about all the wonderful things we have here,” she said. The program also helps to promote Motorcycle Week, she said.
“We have so many lakes, from Franklin to Castle in the Clouds, to promote, and to see it all, you’ve got to stay the night,” Gifford said. “We want to drive our economy, and that’s a big part of what tourism is in our area.”
The promotions create sustainable revenue, generating higher Rooms and Meals tax income which, in turn, allows for more advertising to create still-higher revenues, Gifford said.
Rose pointed to the ad effectiveness study by SMARInsights that found the state’s marketing effort influenced more than 750,000 trips to the state between November 2015 and October 2016, resulting in $831 million in visitor spending. More than half of the targeted households recalled seeing a component of the advertising campaign.
Of the 750,817 “influenced trips” during that period, the majority (282,880) came from New York City; 93,822 from Boston; 61,052 from Montreal; 32,084 from Toronto; and 280,978 from other New England states, the study found.
The $3,742,250 in media expenditures returned $37,986,030 in taxes, according to the report.