A conference committee appointed to work out differences between House and Senate versions of the FY15 budget settled on an increase of $8.5 million for the Missouri Division of Tourism, providing the division with its largest budget in nearly five years.
In addition to the $8.5 million increase for tourism, the committee also approved a $5 million allocation should Kansas City win the bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Both measures will next go to the full House and Senate for approval before heading to the Governor's Office to await the signature of Governor Jay Nixon. Governor Nixon recommended a $10 million increase for tourism, which was the amount approved by the Senate. The House had earlier approved a $5 million increase. Because of the differences in the two amounts, the Conference Committee was tasked with negotiating an allocation between the two.
The staff at the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau extends our gratitude to all the legislators who supported the increase.
Not only does increased funding for the Division of Tourism provide more opportunities for marketing the state as a travel destination, it also ensures the Cooperative Marketing Program remains viable. The CVB annually applies for matching funds from the program, which provides more than $400,000 each year for marketing Springfield as a travel destination.
While the increase is greatly appreciated, the state’s hospitality industry will continue efforts to get the budget to the amount mandated by legislation passed in 1994 that sets a funding formula for the Division of Tourism. The formula calls for a FY15 budget of about $36.9 million and if the House and Senate approve the committee recommendation, the division’s budget will be about $22.5 million or $27.5 million if Kansas City is awarded the Republican National Convention in 2016.