MDT Revises FY18 Budget After $10 million Withheld

Dan Lennon, director of the Missouri Division of Tourism, outlined how the state’s tourism marketing agency will function after $10 million – about 50% – of the organization’s budget was withheld by Gov. Eric Greitens.

The impact on all MDT programs is significant:

  • 11% of reduction: Administrative costs cut by $1.1 million largely from adjusting Welcome Center staffing and hours; some staff attrition; scaling back research; withdrawing from partnerships; and reducing other administrative costs such as travel, computer upgrades, office supplies, etc.
  • 66% of reduction: The advertising/media campaign was reduced by $6.4 million. There will be no television advertising and the focus instead will be marketing on print, digital and social platforms; reducing international efforts; and rescheduling website maintenance and development.
  • 23% of reduction: The Promote Missouri Fund, formerly known as the Cooperative Marketing program, was reduced by $2 million. About three years ago, MDT and the PMF Advisory Council worked to stabilize funding for the matching funds program by tying it to the division’s budget – specifically, 16% of the budget. The revised FY18 co-op plan reaffirms the 16% commitment to the industry, applied by levying an equal 54.3% cut to all approved FY18 applications. The five Marketing Platform Development grants for emerging CVBs totaling $15,800 are unaffected. SEM Partnership subsidies will be cut to $125,000.

For the Springfield CVB, the most serious impact is on the PMF that funds a large portion of the bureau’s advertising efforts targeting leisure travelers. The CVB was expecting $430,000 from the program, which has now been reduced to $196,500.

To cover the shortfall, the CVB board voted in July to take funds from the bureau’s fund balance. This will allow the CVB to sustain its current level of advertising for FY18. A portion of the campaign that totals just over $1 million is funded by partners Bass Pro and the Springfield Cardinals.

The CVB is losing another $10,800 from the SEM Partnership program.

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Tracy Kimberlin is the President & CEO of the Springfield, Missouri, Convention & Visitors Bureau

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