October 2018 – MACVB Lobbyist, Todd Hill/Hill Capitol Strategies

With the change of the seasons we are now within days of the fall elections and before we know it the start of the 2019 Legislative Session.  Over the interim, the MACVB Legislative Committee, MACVB Board and the leadership of Explore Minnesota have all been working to develop the tourism agendas for the upcoming session. While everyone’s agenda may change based upon the outcome of the elections, for now the MACVB plans to focus its attention on these issues:

  • Preserving the limited use of local option lodging taxes to marketing.
  • Increase funding for the Explore Minnesota Tourism budget and grant program.
  • Support the Uniform Regulation and Taxation of Minnesota Lodging Facilities.
  • Oppose any changes to Minnesota’s Prohibition on Local Schools Starting Prior to Labor Day.

New position papers have been developed for each of these issues and they are available for your use on the MACVB website.  Please take some time to educate yourself and your local elected officials about these issues and why they are important to our members.

Explore Minnesota has also released a new white paper titled “Keep Minnesota Tourism Competitive” which highlights their Marketing Initiatives for FY2020/2021.  The document identifies the tremendous impact tourism investments have on Minnesota’s economy.  According to Explore Minnesota’s research, every $1 invested in tourism marketing created 750 new jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry.  Their analysis has also determined tourism generates 18% of all state tax revenue.

While the numbers are impressive, Minnesota’s share of the tourism market is at risk.  In fact, in Minnesota alone 58% of our residents have 13.5 million unused vacation days with an untapped potential economic impact of more than $1.6 billion.  Our competitors are all targeting similar audiences in their home states along with Minnesota’s residents. With this enormous potential market in mind, Explore Minnesota intends to ask for an annual increase in their base budget of $5.768 million.  This money will be used to increase investments in their national media strategy.

Explore Minnesota also recognizes the importance of leveraging local events through the newly established New Events Grant Program.  In addition to their increase in base budget funding, Explore Minnesota is planning to request $1 million each year for the expansion and continued funding of the New Events Grant Program.

The New Year will bring many changes to St. Paul including a new Governor and many new faces to the legislature.  We have tremendous opportunities to start 2019 off right by educating our supporters and new members about our association and the impacts we have across the state.

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