§5B-2-12. Tourism Promotion Fund created; use of funds.

     (a) There is hereby continued in the State Treasury the special revenue fund known as the Tourism Promotion Fund created under prior enactment of section nine, article one of this chapter.

     (b) Seventy-five percent of the moneys deposited in the fund each year shall be used solely for marketing, advertising and public relations efforts for building the brand identity of Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia and promoting travel and tourism within the state at the discretion and direction of the Commissioner of the Division of Tourism: Provided, That no less than one percent of these funds be expended, with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce, to effectively promote and market the state's parks, state forests, state recreation areas and wildlife recreational resources. "Direct advertising" means advertising which includes, but is not limited to, television, radio, mailings, newspaper, magazines, digital marketing, including the Internet and social media, and outdoor billboards or any combination thereof.

     (c) The balance of the moneys deposited in the fund shall be used for direct advertising within the state's travel regions as defined by the commission. The funds shall be made available to these districts beginning July 1, 1995, according to legislative rules authorized for promulgation by the Tourism Commission.

     (d) No member of the commission or of any committee created by the commission to evaluate applications for advertising or other grants may participate in the discussion of, or action upon, an application for or an award of any grant in which the member has a direct financial interest.