Chamber will have to compete for tourism marketing contract
In a break from decades of tradition, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association will have to start competing with other bidders for a contract to market tourism in town.However, City Council has decided to put off the bidding process until next year, after concluding Thursday night it was too late to seek bids on the 2006 contract.Two council members Bruce Christensen and Mayor Larry Emery voted against Thursdays action, arguing the city should act immediately instead of waiting to put out a request for proposals from parties interested in handling the $500,000 contract.I think we have a responsibility to see whats out there, Christensen said.Others on council said theres too little time left this year to try to bid out the 2006 work.We cant expect to get a really good RFP if we rush through this thing, said council member Joe ODonnell.He said hurrying things is asking for a tragedy, and we cant afford that with our tourism industry.I think its too tight, its too short, fellow council member Chris McGovern said of trying to seek bids now.Still, council has opened the door to someone other than the chamber possibly doing a job the chamber has done for decades. That work apparently never before has been put out for bid.Council also has instructed the city to renegotiate the 2006 contract with the chamber, as the city seeks more accountability regarding how its marketing fund is spent.Some tourism industry representatives also have raised concerns about the job the chamber is doing in carrying out the contract. The chamber already has responded by setting up a tourism marketing board composed of industry representatives who will provide oversight over how the marketing funds are spent. The funds are generated by an accommodations tax.Kjell Mitchell, general manager of the Hot Springs Lodge & Pool, is chairman of new tourism board. He asked council to delay bidding out the contract until next year, saying not to do so would create problems because the board is in the process of getting ads placed in publications for 2006, and hiring a new tourism marketing director.Lori Hogan, who resigned from that job earlier this year, argued in favor of immediately bidding out the work. She said no time is a good time for seeking bids, because the job requires placing ads all year long.She said she thinks it is good for the city to look to others as possible providers of its tourism marketing because they might be able to offer fresh ideas.Manette Anderson, a chamber board member, said the chamber doesnt oppose the contract going to bid later, but first would like the city to benefit from the momentum of the new tourism boards work.Im just hoping that we can just let this committee get going, get some ideas generated, make some improvements, she said.Council also decided to have one of its members represent the city on the committee overseeing the tourism marketing contract.
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