As savvy San Diegas brace themselves for absurd claims of how a football stadium will boost the economy, and how tourism advertising will bring in tax dollars, an April 24 article by Matthew Hennessey, in the publication City Journal, sheds light on government-concocted nonsense. Hennessey tells how states inflate numbers to claim that their tourism advertising brings in tax dollars.
Last year, Michigan's $13 million campaign, "Pure Michigan," was said to bring in $86.6 million in tax dollars. Nevada claims its campaign attracted $98 million in tourist-related tax dollars. (Everbody knows that gambling and prostitution — as embodied in Las Vegas's brilliant "Sin City" designation — are what bring people to Nevada. That's my comment — not Hennessey's.)
Colorado claimed its $4.5 million ad campaign brought $898 million in tourism spending. But, points out Hennessy, that's nonsense unless "everything [tourists] buy, from ski poles to schnapps, is entirely produced in the state." And that's impossible. Hennessey says that if advertising is as effective as states claim, why isn't more shelled out? "If spending $1 on tourism gets you $200 in return, why not spend $200, or $2 million, or $200 million?"