Federal-State Tourism Summit – September
GOVERNOR PATTON’S TALKING POINTS
Thank you Secretary
Latta. Tourism is critical to
Kentucky’s economy…in fact it is the state’s third largest industry…and
in 2001 alone, had an $8.7 billion impact on our economy, generating
$906.4 million in state and local taxes. We have been extremely fortunate during the past six years to have the
caliber of individuals like Secretary Latta and Bob Stewart to lead our tourism
efforts. Due to their leadership we
have been able to establish partnerships between Tourism and other governmental
agencies that play a key role in providing our state with the resources needed
to build a healthy tourism climate. They have successfully forged some
partnerships that ten years or so ago would have seemed
impossible…partnerships that include the Department of Highways.
As most of you know, transportation plays a very significant role in
tourism. Their efforts have
resulted in a streamlined cooperative approach to approving tourism highway
signage, a customer driven state map, and a new driver’s license and license
plate that establishes our new tourism theme…Kentucky…it’s that
friendly…as a brand. We
have also worked together with our state lawmakers to establish legislation,
such as the Tourism Development Act of 1996, which provides incentive dollars to
tourism attractions based on sales tax revenue.
I would like to
commend the Southeast Tourism Society for hosting a conference that embraces the
fact that any future successful endeavor, whether it be economic development,
smart growth, tourism, or education…depends on the ability of citizens to come
together to work towards a common good. In
today’s fast paced, technology driven world, everything is interrelated…no
entity can afford to operate in isolation if it wants to survive.
Countries must understand that they are a part of a global
economy…states must understand they are more successful if they view
themselves as part of a regional economy irregardless of state boundaries…and
communities must understand that county borders are virtually nonexistent when
it comes to tourism and economic development.
Every time the
subject of tourism is broached…no matter whether it is a legislative issue or
a business issues…I am reminded of the line comedian Rodney Dangerfield used
over and over again. I get no respect! Unfortunately
when it comes to the tourism industry…the business and legislative community
often fail to give it the respect it deserves…especially considering the fact
that tourism represents either the first, second or third largest industry in
every single state that is represented at this summit.
Nowhere is this fact better demonstrated than in the dollars most state
legislatures appropriate to market their state’s tourism product.
Generally speaking, the majority spend an abysmal amount of money to
promote what is one of their largest industries.
However, I do
believe that the environment is changing. The
tourism industry is on the brink of being discovered by public officials and
other state leaders as being a critical component to the future economic success
of their communities and states. They are beginning to realize that tourism is integrally
linked to every ingredient in the economic development formula…ingredients
such as providing the quality of life that the industries of the New Economy
require for their employees…as well as providing high paying, quality jobs in
the Tourism sector itself.
Once again I
commend the efforts of the Southeast Tourism Society for conducting this
historic conference designed to initiate an ongoing dialogue between all
stakeholders in the tourism industry. We
all know that there is strength in numbers.
This summit is all about numbers…It’s designed to strengthen
tourism’s role in the southeast region of this country by uniting the number
of both public and private entities who have a vested interest in this industry.
Every individual in this room…and every stakeholder in the
industry…have the potential to significantly impact the economies of every
state in this region by joining forces to support the smart growth and
development of public recreational areas.
As Chair of the National Governor’s Association, I pledge to carry the tourism message to other Governors and to help champion key areas of public policy critical to your industry. One area that I hope to have significant impact on will be the reauthorization of TEA-21. During the next year, the National Governor’s Association will be working with our federal partners to ensure that we develop creative and effective solutions to some of our outdated highway problems …and to continue to provide funding for unique transportation projects that directly impact the tourism industry. I also commit to you that I will do everything in my power to raise the awareness level among Governors and key policy makers of tourism’s importance to a state’s economy. I will diligently work to include the industry in key policymaking arenas were you have been traditionally left out. If the tourism industry is going to play a major role in our region’s economy it is imperative that they be invited to the policy making table!
Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this historic Summit…I hope you have a very productive meeting that lays the groundwork for the development of a collaborative partnership between all of the industry’s stakeholders.
I also hope that you will find some time during your stay
to take advantage of the “friendliness” of our beautiful state.
I know Ann and Bob have some dynamic activities planned that feature some
of Kentucky’s best tourism assets.