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Tourism work may go to bid

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – City Council will consider whether to put the city’s $500,000-a-year tourism promotions contract out to bid.

For more than a decade, the contract has automatically gone to the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, where staff use the funds to promote tourism during the spring and fall and for weekday visits.

Councilmen Don Gillespie raised the idea of putting an accommodations contract out for bid. The idea is to get the most for the city’s money, not to snub the chamber.



“I’m not saying they’re doing a bad job,” Gillespie noted.

The accommodations tax is a 2.5 percent tax on lodging collected at hotels and motels in the city. The money must be spent on marketing the city, but there is no rule saying it must be used by the chamber.



“The question was asked at the contract renewal,” chamber executive director Marianne Virgili said.

The tax revenues must be spent on tourist promotions, city manager Mike Copp said. When it was launched in the mid-1980s at 1.5 percent, it was spent on promotions by City Council. Then, in the late 1980s, the chamber won the contract and has had it ever since.

Gillespie wondered if the money could be used to market the city in other ways, or be set aside for winter attractions. He suggested using some of the money for fireworks, an event that was popular when done over Thanksgiving weekend.

He is also looking for an event “that would entice someone to come over for the weekend.”

“The whole deal of accommodations money is to promote the town,” he said.

And even if the chamber didn’t get to spend the accommodations money, the organization would still continue to market the town, Gillespie said, and fulfill the goals put on it by its local members.

“To me, the chamber of commerce has their own goals and duties they get from their membership,” Gillespie said.

Glenwood Springs Mayor Don Vanderhoof said the chamber would have no problem competing for such a bid, but by going through the process, competition for the advertising contract would be created, thereby making the city more likely to get the most for its money.

The question of who should spend the accommodation tax revenues and how it should be spent will be broached at a work session between the City Council and the chamber slated for 5 p.m. Thursday at City Council Chambers.


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