Tourism Promotion Area hits Lacey Roadblock
Efforts by the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau to create a Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) , has hit a roadblock in Lacey.
A Tourism Promotion Area would levy up to a $2 a bed hotel/motel tax with the money being used to promote visitors and conventions to Thurston County. Most hotels and motels in Olympia and Tumwater have come on board, but not in Lacey.
In order for the TPA to come into effect, hotels and motels representing 60 percent of the beds, must sign up. All of the major hotels in Olympia – - Phoenix Inn, Ramada, Red Lion and the Governor Hotel have indicated they favor the creation of such an organization.
But in Lacey, only two of the eight hotels and motels have agreed.
At a work session of the Lacey City Council on Thursday, Larry Donnelly, general manager of LaQuinta Inns and Suites in Lacey said it was a financial matter. “I’d like to get $2 extra profit from each bed, but the economy just doesn’t allow it.” he said. Donnelly also said that in areas where a TPA has been tried, no one could show any success in booking additional room nights.
If hotels and motels representing 60 percent of the beds were to sign up, an advisory board of hotel and motel managers would be created by the Thurston County Commission. This board would determine the tax rate of up to $2 a bed and would decide how the money would be used.
George Sharp, director of the Visitor and Convention Bureau said a $2 bed tax would raise about $990,000. The VCB currently operates on a budget of $322,000. The extra money would be used to promote Thurston County as a tourism area.
The Lacey City Council will take the proposal under consideration and attempt to get more information from Lacey hotels and motels as to their opposition to a TPA.