Publisher's Note: This article originally appeared in the Beaufort Observer.
If you believe Governor Bev. Perdue and her Department of Commerce, in the depths of the worst recession in our lifetimes, the amount of travel and spending on travel and tourism in North Carolina has reach record heights. If you believe that we have a bridge we'd like to talk to you about.
The annual scam run by the N. C. Department of Commerce has just come out again. And again the travel and tourism industry is booming, according to them. Click here
to read the press release they put out Tuesday.
And just so you won't miss it, click here
to discover that there was a 5% increase in tourism in Beaufort County in 2011, above 2010. The say travel and tourism brought in $70.36 million, up from $67 mission the previous years.
They also contend that we ranked 46th and had more than 440 jobs directly attributable to travel and tourism. All those tourist generated $8.85 million payroll and 7.8 million in taxes. The attractions that they highlight that they contend are responsible for much of this tourism are: Bath Historic site, the waterfront, Goose Creek State Park, the Aurora Fossil Museum and the Belhaven Memorial Museum. No data is available about the number of tourist who visited each of the site.
If you detect a tone of cynicism in the above report, you are correct. This is a scam. It is a scam of monumental proportions.
All these data were computed by what they call the Travel Economic Impact Model (TEIM). It's the same methodology we have reported on in the past. You can read how they concoct the number by clicking here
You really don't need to read beyond the first sentence to realize you are reading hoco-pocus. They admit: "TIA used its proprietary Travel Economic Impact Model (TEIM) to measure the impact of travel on the U.S. Economy."
So in the past we have contacted the Department of Commerce and made a Public Records Request to see the actual data. "Denied!" But we said: "how can you deny showing us the actual data? The taxpayers paid for it." The answer is that the NCDOC enters into a contract that allows "U. S. Travel Association" to keep the data and the methodology used to analyze the data a secret.
Yep, that's right. It is secret. They refuse to disclose how they concocted the numbers.
We've been unsuccessful in even getting the DOC to tell us how much they paid for this garbage.
But what you can find out is what the "U. S. Travel Association" is. If you go to their website, low and behold you find out that it is a travel industry promotion operation
. In other words they lobby for more government money being spent on travel. Thus, they have an obvious vested interest in these numbers showing how great the industry is doing. They are certainly not an impartial, unbiased research organization. It is rather like asking the National Rifle Association to do a study about how much of an impact guns have on the economy.
Do the good folks at DOC, the Governor's Office and the Legislature really think we are so stupid that we will accept these numbers?
Yea we know. Just wait and see who the first government official or politician is who starts spouting off about how important tourism is to the state's economy. Then you'll know the answer.