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Solvang cuts funding to local tourism marketing agencies

Courtesy of the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau
Solvang, in Santa Barbara County, is known as a major tourist destination.

Solvang city officials opted this week to cut funding for two local tourism marketing agencies. The city council voted unanimously to sever ties with the Solvang Chamber of Commerce and the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau.

The city’s contracts with the tourism marketing agencies will expire at the beginning of August. This will save the city $750,000 if they do not come up with new agreements.

Solvang mayor Ryan Toussaint told KCBX News the city council needed to cut the contracts because of an alleged lawsuit from one of the agencies.

“Until we’ve addressed the potential issue of litigation, that would obviously hold up funding,” Toussaint said. “We can’t fund an agency that is potentially threatening to litigate against us.”

Toussaint said the city will need to draft new contracts for the entities to sign, and doesn’t anticipate it affecting tourism.

“Good marketing really lasts for quite some time; some people think it’s all going to fall off the face of the earth overnight,” Toussaint said. “There could be no disruption in service."

The Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau is responsible for two major annual events in Solvang. The December holiday celebration Julefest, and Taste of Solvang, a spring culinary event. Neither the Bureau nor the Solvang Chamber of Commerce responded to requests for comment.

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