The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) met to discuss plans and updates regarding Lodging Tax applications and fund allocation for the upcoming years.
Discussions centered on determining the allocation of funds between organizations, with the goal of assessing whether an event organized by a private institution serves as a promotional tool for tourism.
The committee launched an application for members to review submissions online, received through Submittable, with expectations to receive more applications each year.
LTAC members score and review applications using this system, and to discuss and score funding recommendations. The application committee aims for implementation in 2024 as a stepping stone, with their primary target being full implementation in 2025 using the data received from the applications.
With plans to allocate part of the funds to the Museum, Harlequin Productions, and the Olympia Film Society, Don Olea, General Manager of the Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake, asked, “Do we give stuff to Harlequin that is totally local, or do we need to focus on gaining people on marketing the ability to put on things that are going to bring people from Tacoma, Seattle, or Spokane?”
While Annette Pitts from the Visitor Bureau mentioned that there are allocated funds for marketing events, places, and attractions in Olympia, Olea argued that there were not enough funds to attract visitors from outside Olympia.
Pitts proposed allocating funds for evening events to boost hotel stays, aligning with their emphasis on hosting music events. This approach is informed by the impacts seen, exemplified by pop artist Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, which revitalized economies along its circuit after COVID-19. Olea referenced Swift as an illustration of her economic contribution potential to Seattle through a concert.
However, Pitts mentioned that allocating funds for these artists would require hundreds of thousands of dollars and could contribute to boosting lodging and the Olympia economy for just one or two days. Only 12% of visitors come to Olympia for events, so they would like to also focus on promoting Olympia's personality and culture.
The committee planned to establish a long-term solution to leave a lasting impression on people's minds, associating Olympia with something memorable, while also generating economic benefits for the city. Additionally, they aim to provide, maintain, operate, and enhance the city-owned tourism facilities and infrastructure.
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