Lodging providers learn about tourism districts
M. Kate West
Verna Sulpizio, of Civitas, gave a presentation on tourism business investment districts to lodging providers and property managers in Chester on Thursday, July 24, at the Best Western Rose Quartz Inn.
Sulpizio did an identical presentation in Graeagle later the same day.
Chester attendees were Ghulam Fareed, owner of the Best Western in Chester and the Gold Pan in Quincy; Filip Laboda, of the Bidwell House Bed and Breakfast; and Susan Bryner, who is the property manager for Coldwell Banker, Kehr-O’Brien Real Estate. Karen Kleven, who is employed by the Feather River Land Trust, attended, as did Dr. Kevin Trutna, Feather River College president.
Sulpizio gave an informed presentation and responded to questions.
She spoke about the political decline of funding going to chambers and visitors bureaus as a result of “city councils or boards of supervisors asking the question, do we fund fire and safety or tourism?”
Chester questions primarily centered on the formation process, where the nonprofit would be located and what the contracted cost to form would be.
Sulpizio said Civitas estimates it would take eight months to form a Plumas County TBID. She also said that after working closely for the first four months of the eight-month contract, the decision as to whether to go forward with formation or a lack of support for formation would be clear.
She estimates the Civitas contract would cost $42,000 and lodging owners would be responsible to pay the contracted fee.
While the Chester lodging providers did not commit to a countywide TBID, Bryner did take multiple copies of the presentation and said she plans to talk to local lodging providers.
After closing the meeting, Sulpizio and Trutna traveled to Graeagle to offer the same presentation.
Tracy Wixted, of the Ranchito Motel in Quincy, attended the east end meeting and said it was well received.
“The meeting in Graeagle was very positive and it seems everyone there is on board to continue the steps to move forward,” she said.
What is a TBID?
TBIDs are also referred to as tourism marketing districts or tourism improvement districts.
Currently there are a combination of 150 cities and counties in California who have formed districts.
She said lodging providers who are part of a TBID have seen an increase to their bottom line with their return on investments running anywhere from 5:1 all the way to 20:1.
TBIDs impact the economy
Sulpizio provided statistics resulting from a Cal Travel study on tourism marketing districts in the areas of creating jobs, growing the economy and providing budget relief for the state of California.
This study revealed that the assessments collected by all TBIDs from their members provided $8.9 billion in direct new tourism spending. A total of $19.9 billion was spent in total direct, indirect and induced tourism spending.
Increased tourism resulted in 81,500 jobs and $2.8 billion in personal income for workers.
California benefited with $493 million in new tax revenue while local governments in TBIDs gained $196 million in new tax revenue.
TBID estimate for Plumas County
“Based on the TOT (transient occupancy tax) numbers for 2012, if the TBID implemented a 2 – 3 percent assessment on lodging properties in the county of Plumas, between $315,000 and $471,000 could be raised annually,” Sulpizio said.
That breaks down to $26,250 to $39,250 a month.
She advised that a 3 percent figure was on the high side but with the Plumas County TOT rate of 9 percent, totaling 12 percent to lodging guests, it was not too much.
She said many other areas have a higher tax rate.
Sulpizio said that TBIDs, like the communities in Plumas County, have their distinct differences and no two are alike.
In other areas in California, some TBIDs have restaurants and other tourism-related businesses as members.
How a TBID in Plumas County might look would be fully dependent on the vision of the forming members.
In order to form a TBID, 51 percent of the Plumas County lodging providers would need to vote in the affirmative.