Fort Collins City Council will have its first look at a proposal to create a district to enhance the tourism business to fund visitors directly to promote the city.
Fort Collins has long levied a 3% property tax and has signed contracts with Visit Fort Collins to manage visitor and convention inquiries. However, 70% of the revenue from this tax is split to Visit Fort Collins and 30% to Fort Fund, a city-administered grant service, split for cultural events.
According to a report put up for discussion at the council meeting on Tuesday evening, the proposed Fort Collins Tourism Business Improvement District would impose a 3% fee on top of the city’s tax for all stays of less than 30 consecutive days, thereby reducing government costs would effectively double search for accommodation in Fort Collins.
TBIDs are quasi-government agencies that set hotel occupancy fees to fund marketing and tourism-related activities. In theory, they provide a specific source of income for promoting an area as a tourist destination and location for hosting conferences and events.
Cynthia Eichler, CEO of Visit Fort Collins, said the city’s lodging tax rate has not increased in 37 years, putting funding at a disadvantage versus comparable Colorado cities.
In its report, Visit Fort Collins listed its budget for 2018 at just over $ 1.29 million, which was the twelfth largest at the time. At the same time, cities like Aspen, Estes Park, Aurora, and Colorado Springs had bigger budgets.
“We’re the fourth largest city in Colorado, but we’re not the fourth largest that is funded for tourism,” she said.
Visit Fort Collins’ report also suggests that earmarked tourism funding could fuel recovery from the economic troubles of the pandemic.
Fort Collins generated $ 1.02 million in tax revenue during 2020, a decrease of nearly half from $ 1.94 million in 2019. However, a 2020 draft report estimated that tourism The city had a direct economic impact of USD 222 million between April 2019 and March 2020, which could serve as a funnel of external dollars into the city’s coffers and local businesses.
At the same time, it is possible that an increase could lead people to choose home sharing services like Airbnb or find hotels in nearby cities to avoid additional costs. Loveland has a 3% lodging tax.
Eichler said some local hotel managers moved to the area after working in metropolitan areas in Minnesota and Texas, which have higher effective tax rates, and it didn’t stop visitors from booking rooms.
“You’ve heard some of these concerns, but you’ve never seen a situation where someone doesn’t choose to come because of your tax rate,” she said.
A full and final plan for the city’s tourism strategy is scheduled for May.
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