Glenwood tourism continues on the upswing
Glenwood Springs tourism officials are celebrating a banner year for visitor numbers, based on collections from the city’s special tax on hotel and motel stays which are on pace to set a new record.
Receipts from the city’s 2.5 percent accommodations, or “bed tax,” from September 2014 through this past August topped $933,000 and are projected to finish the current calendar year at about the same level.
That’s 14.5 percent higher than the $815,000 collected in 2008, the year typically considered as the benchmark in terms of economic recovery since the Great Recession hit.
It’s also 7.2 percent higher than the $870,908 in tax collections for calendar year 2014.
“The accommodations tax has grown steadily since 2012, and finally in 2014 Glenwood Springs surpassed the collections that were garnered in 2008,” according to the tourism promotion plan presented to City Council last week by Lisa Langer, vice president of tourism marketing for the city.
Three years ago, she said the city’s Tourism Promotion Board was working to delineate its role versus that of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association in working to attract visitors to Glenwood Springs.
The city contracts for tourism promotion efforts with the Chamber, which in turn uses proceeds from the bed tax to carry out a marketing plan.
That includes spending about $350,000 annually working with advertising agencies to get the word out about Glenwood Springs as a tourist destination, Langer indicated in her report.
In 2012, the city moved from a system of basing its tourism budget on calendar-year tax receipts to the September-through-August period.
Langer has proposed a budget of $893,610 for promotion efforts in 2016, an increase of $107,360 over this year. A portion of the tourism funds, 7.5 percent, are also set aside for grants to tourism-related events. The Chamber utilizes Xuma Communications and Glenwood-based Blizzard Internet Marketing “to assist in taking Glenwood Springs’ tourism promotion to the next level,” Langer said.
The tourism board recently approved an increase in funding for the downtown visitor center, located at Eighth and Grand, from $75,947 last year to $100,000 in 2015. That amount will stay the same for next year, she said.
The move to the downtown location three years ago from the previous chamber offices at 11th and Grand has proven to be much busier in terms of walk-in traffic, Langer said.
“Staffing has been increased to accommodate the busiest times,” she said.
The chamber also agreed to keep the center open on Saturdays through the winter months, and added Sunday and increased hours during the summer season.
This year, tourism promotion efforts included extensive international marketing through venues such as DiscoverAmerica.com.
Glenwood Springs also hosted five familiarization “FAM” tours with a total of 50 participants from Japan, France, China, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Korea, Germany, Costa Rica, Mexico, the UK and the United States.
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