The fastest way to get the state's economy back on track is to support the tourism industry, says state Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs.
Earlier this week, Taylor was awarded the Colorado Tourism Office Chairman's Award for his efforts to do just that.
"It's very meaningful to me because it confirms my long-standing conviction to support the tourism industry," Taylor said.
The award is meant to recognize an exceptional contribution to Colorado tourism, as well as ongoing dedication to promoting tourism.
"Not only has (Taylor) aggressively worked to ensure that legislative funding for tourism promotion remained intact, he also has taken steps to identify and support legislation that would secure a permanent funding source for tourism promotion," said Steve Szapor, chairman of the Colorado Tourism Office.
Taylor said that one of his recent accomplishments in promoting tourism was to sponsor a bill known as "Funding the promotion of Colorado tourism" in the 2004 legislative session.
The bill provides an annual funding source of about $3.5 million from unclaimed property. That amount eventually could reach about $5 million a year.
The funds are used for branding advertising, which advertises Colorado as a destination and benefits all businesses in the state, Taylor said.
"It supports the mom-and-pop small businesses that cannot afford to do (large-scale advertising)," he said.
Not only does tourism bring out-of-state dollars into Colorado, but it also supplies many jobs in travel-related industries, Taylor said.
Taylor has served on the Colorado Tourism Office board for several years.
"Representing rural Colorado, I understand the importance of tourism to the economic vitality of our communities and the state as a whole," Taylor said. "It's imperative we fully support the tourism industry, and I've always tried to be a strong supporter of this important industry at the Statehouse."