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Thursday, October 19, 2006

$49.2 Million Extra

"I'm always impressed when government does something right."

- Bill Hickman

Read the full text of the Tribune article: Lights, camera, windfall!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lights, camera, windfall!
State gets a big return from its funding to draw films, tourists

By Mike Gorrell
The Salt Lake Tribune

Article Last Updated:10/18/2006 11:39:57 PM MDT

Shown financial figures verifying that "if you fund it, they will come," legislators heaped praise Wednesday on the Utah Office of Tourism for its campaigns to increase the number of out-of-state tourists and filmmakers bringing their money into Utah.
In the past three years, the state agency's Motion Picture Incentive Fund has provided $3.3 million in post-performance tax rebates to filmmakers shooting movies, television shows and commercials in Utah. The resulting economic impact to the state was $49.2 million, a return of $14.82 for every state dollar invested, said Tourism Office Managing Director Leigh von der Esch.
Initial returns on lawmakers' beefed-up investment in out-of-state tourism promotions also have been substantial. The 2005 Legislature appropriated $14 million over two years for an intensified campaign (only $900,000 was available in 2004 for tourism ads), von der Esch said Wednesday. "I'm always impressed when government does something right," said Sen. John W. (Bill) Hickman, R-St. George, co-chairman of the Workforce Services and Community and Economic Development Interim Committee. "We put money where it needs to be . . . and we have quality people to administer it and get things done."
Added Sen. Karen Hale, D-Salt Lake City: "Fabulous job."
The additional funding has enabled the Tourism Office to increase its print, television and Internet advertising in targeted cities and to team with surrounding states in venturing into new territory, specifically France, von der Esch said. It also developed the "Life Elevated" promotional brand.
More money also has allowed her to revamp and redesign travel guides, and to publish one in German; develop one-page fact sheets about 55 different activities in Utah; produce separate brochures promoting the national parks in Utah and, as legislators requested, Utah's state parks; and to increase research "to make sure our ads are reaching the markets we want them to reach," she said.
On the film side, the ability to offer filmmakers a 10 percent post- production rebate on the money they spent while working in Utah produced immediate dividends. In 2005, film production spending was up 52 percent over the previous year. Last year, it increased an additional 32 percent.
Utah Film Commission statistics also showed that 1,473 crew jobs were created as part of 60 completed projects shot in Utah and 81 others still in process. Even more could have been done if more money was available, von der Esch noted.
Returns gleaned from state
backing of tourism promotions
* Tourism, Recreation, Cultural and Convention Facilities (TRCC) tax collections from restaurants, rental cars and hotel rooms for the fiscal year that ended June 30 rose 25.2 percent, to $45.4 million.
* Transient Room Tax (TRT) revenues from a county tax on hotel rooms reached $20.3 million, up 12.1 percent from the previous year.
* A Transient Room Tax charged by some cities on hotel rooms yielded $1.1 million, 21 percent more than the year before.
* A Resort Communities Sales Tax generated $10.6 million, a 9.3 percent increase.
Source: Utah Tourism Office

10/19/2006 4:48 PM  

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