Legislative PEER report details how state advertising dollars are being spent.

On Wednesday, the Joint Legislative PEER Committee released its latest report titled FY 2021 Annual Report: A Review of the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Advertising Fund.

The report reviews where the MDA Tourism Advertising funds were spent and details the amounts that were deposited.

State law requires that a percentage of sales tax revenue collected from Mississippi restaurants and hotels be deposited into the MDA Tourism Advertising Fund. That fund received approximately $7.3 million in restaurant and hotel sales tax revenue in FY 2021.

The report states that according to MDA staff, approximately $2.5 million was expended from the Tourism Advertising Fund during FY 2021 to support local communities attracting tourists.

Two new contracts were issued by MDA during FY 2021: one to Longwoods International for a custom overnight visitation study, and one to Lobaki in utilizing virtual reality for trade shows.

PEER says they identified the services provided by five vendors that represented approximately 84% of total FY 2021 Tourism Advertising Fund expenditures. The top 5 vendors are listed below:

  • Alabama Media Group – $770,591
  • Expedia, Inc. – $626,000
  • Fox Sports South – $214,200
  • Madden Preprint Media – $235,039
  • Meredith Corporation – $221,571

MDA notes that it anticipates using the remaining FY 2021 revenues and projected future fiscal year revenues to fund a $15.4 million media campaign.

PEER says they believe that MDA has made expenditures from the Tourism Advertising Fund in accordance with state law. However, they say it is imperative that monies expended from the fund are effective in growing tourism and attracting visitors to the state.

As such, PEER recommends the Legislature give PEER the authority to conduct a review of the effectiveness of MDA tourism marketing efforts. This review, they say, should be provided to the Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, the Chairman of the Senate Tourism Committee, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Tourism Committee, and the Governor by no later than December 1, 2024, and every four years thereafter.

You can read the full report here.