Home News Local news D.O.T.’S $500K TOURISM AD CAMPAIGN QUESTIONED

D.O.T.’S $500K TOURISM AD CAMPAIGN QUESTIONED

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The president of at least one St. Croix hotel association said Thursday that the $500,000 the V.I. Department of Tourism is about to spend for a January advertising campaign will miss the mark.
Peter Locke, president of the St. Croix Accommodations Council and owner of the Chenay Bay Resort, said the half-million dollar print advertising the department has purchased should have been used instead to produce a TV ad to counteract the effects of Hurricane Lenny in November.
Locke said he’s aware of erroneous reports in the tourism industry outside of the Caribbean that say the V.I., particularly St. Croix, suffered severe damage in the storm. To set the record straight, the Accommodations Council lined up a production company to create a TV ad for a nominal fee.
"What we had proposed was some emergency advertising to counter…" the storm, Locke said. "Quite frankly, the reach of Lenny was far-reaching. We have to get the message out that we are indeed open for business."
The Department of Tourism, however, opted for a print ad campaign that will begin in January. The first ads will appear in the Jan. 3 edition of USA Today. Subsequent ads will be placed in People Magazine and Parade, a Sunday magazine newspaper insert that is read by more than 18 million people, according to Tourism.
Despite the reach of ad blitz, Locke it still falls short, especially considering the $12 million generated each year by the Hotel Occupancy Tax. Revenue from the tax is, by law, supposed to be used for marketing the territory.
Locke noted that the Department of Tourism’s advertising budget for fiscal year 2000 is approximately $6 million.
"If they are collecting $12 million a year, they should be spending $1 million a month," he said. "They are collecting the hotel tax, but they are not using for the intended purpose."

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