Opposition to California Gov. Gray Davis’ attempt to eliminate the state’s Division of Tourism was addressed during the annual meeting of the California Travel Parks Association (CTPA) in Reno, Nev.
“We’re working with the Legislature to reinstitute it at some level,” Don Gilbert of Edelstein & Gilbert, CTPA’s Sacramento-based lobbying firm, said when he spoke recently to representatives of some 150 campgrounds at the conference.
CTPA is working with the California Travel Industry Association (CTIA), among other organizations, to save the state agency, which promotes California as a tourist destination. Gilbert said it could be “mid-June or mid-July” before it would become clear whether efforts to prevent the closing of the state agency were paying off. Right now, he said, “No one can predict anything with any degree of certainty at all.”
California’s Division of Tourism has a $15 million annual budget, which is derived evenly from the state and industry contributions. Though California’s tourism budget is tiny considering the $5.6 billion in cuts Davis envisioned earlier this year, tourism agencies are increasingly being targeted as states across the country look for ways to balance their budgets.
“States from California to Arizona to Maryland are re-evaluating the value of these programs and, in some cases, threatening to slash them completely,” Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), said during the CTPA gathering March 31-April 2. “Of course, there’s nothing like a financial crunch to spur creative – though not always terribly bright – thinking (on the part of government officials).”