Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

Better Living Through Long Division

Posted by JJ in Vague Check, Brass Tacks (Wednesday September 27, 2006 at 6:00 am)

If you’re going to study policy arguments, here’s an example of a superb approach.

Canadian Tourism Commission Vice-President Andrew Clark makes an argument for keeping his agency’s (CTC’s) funding at existing levels:

“We believe that in North America, every sales-and-marketing dollar brings in $10 in tourism revenue,” said commission vice-president Andrew Clark.

In 2003, Canada took in $10.5 Billion US in tourism. That figure rose to $12.8 Billion in 2004. In 2003, CTC’s marketing and sales expenses were $87 Million Canadian. That figure declined to $71 Million in 2004. Mr. Clark might not be wrong about the ratio, but it’s clear that CTC’s expenditures aren’t strictly correlated with revenue.

But then, there are reasons to doubt his claim. On page 29 of the CTC’s latest annual report, it claims a return on investment of between 19 and 173 percent for three of its programs. That’s not quite the 900 percent return he claims for each tourism dollar; but let’s give the man the benefit of the doubt and assume that the annual report listed only the lowest-yielding programs. After all, who wants to be a braggart.

It’s a great line, though. And who can blame him for lobbying for his agency’s funding?

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