1) Missouri’s travel industry creates jobs, tax revenue & economic development. In FY16:
- Missouri welcomed 41.7 million visitors.
- Tourism’s total economic impact was a record $16.5 billion dollars.
- 307,937 Missourians earned their living through employment in travel and tourism related businesses.
- The state received $3.98 in state tax revenue for every dollar invested in the Missouri Division of Tourism.
2) Given the current, challenging budget situation in Jefferson City, educating our state legislators as to tourism’s vital importance to Missouri’s overall economy has never been more important. While we seek to be a team player and are not advocating for a funding increase this year, we are advocating that tourism be funded as strongly as possible. Continued strong support and funding of the Missouri Division of Tourism is critically important in continuing to drive tax revenue that will help strengthen the state’s overall economic health.
3) We are supportive of legislation that will provide statewide regulation of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. While a number of municipalities across the state are developing or have already developed their own regulations, those regulations obviously vary from city to city. Statewide legislation will provide uniformity, a clear set of rules addressing issues such as requiring drivers to show proof of insurance, undergoing background checks, etc.
4) We are supportive of legislation that will provide statewide regulation of home rental companies like Airbnb and Flipkey. While a number of municipalities across the state are developing or have already developed their own regulations, those regulations obviously vary from city to city. Statewide legislation will provide uniformity, a clear set of rules addressing issues such as making sure rooms and meals taxes are being paid, to renter and neighbor safety, etc.
5) While we are supportive of the Meet in Missouri Act, it is unfunded at this time. Again, given the current budget situation, we feel that it is critical to make sure that lawmakers are not compelled to seek to fund this program from existing Missouri Division of Tourism funding. If funding can be found through another avenue, we believe that this program will enable Missouri cities to compete with non-Missouri cities for national convention business with a net positive impact for the state.
6) We are supportive of the positive impact of the Missouri film industry; the economic impact of the Missouri film industry was $2.1 billion in 2015. While we believe that a small amount of tax credits could make a big difference in Missouri’s ability to be competitive in the film industry and would have a demonstrable return on investment, we will not be advocating for such funding in light of this year’s budget situation.
7) Missouri’s tourism industry will not support initiatives that demonstrably will have a negative impact on our economies at a local and/or state level.
Undoubtedly there may be other unforeseen issues that will arise in this session that will require input and action from the tourism industry. The Joint Missouri Travel Council and Missouri Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus Legislative Committee holds weekly conference calls and will stay abreast of any such developments and will communicate them accordingly.