"Travel programs, not just ads-that's what the industry is buying today," said Mr. Thornton, who as international management director-travel group heads the Hawaii Visitors Bureau account at Ogilvy & Mather, Honolulu. Mr. Thornton spoke here at the northern California chapter of the Travel & Tourism Marketing Association.
As the federal government shifted responsibility for some entitlement and welfare programs to the states, states have become hard-pressed to maintain travel funding, Mr. Thornton said.
"How can an assemblyman justify bankrolling the big hotel and airline industries when he is presiding over the rollback of social programs in his district?" Mr. Thornton asked.
As a result, states have cut their budgets for tourism ads. Hawaii's has been sliced 56.3% since 1991 to $3.5 million last year, and now requires that all public funds spent on marketing be matched by private industry.
The result, he said, is one 30-second TV spot for Hawaii, for example, that included two destinations, an airline, a retail price offer, a travel planner offer, a toll-free phone number and logos.
Other states, such as Florida and California, are moving in the same direction, Mr. Thornton said, while the federal government just eliminated the U.S. Travel & Tourism Administration.
Overall ad spending in the U.S. for travel, hotels and resorts rose 12% in 1994 to $2.3 billion, according to Advertising Age's "100 Leading National Advertisers" report.