Three Marketing Groups Seek Tourism Funding from Bristol Virginia City Council | Local News
BRISTOL, Va. — A trio of local tourism marketing entities applied for combined funding of $275,000 from the city on Tuesday as Bristol City Council in Va. began work on its spending plan for fiscal year 2022- 23.
Discover Bristol has asked for $175,000 while Believe in Bristol (BIB) and the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) are asking for $50,000 each for their role in promoting the twin city, planning events and l attraction of visitors here. These are all significant increases.
BIB received $7,500 in the current year budget, while BCM received $7,500 and Discover Bristol – the tourism promotion division of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce – received $50,000.
“Tourism is an investment; it’s not an expense,” Discover Bristol’s marketing director Christopher Perrin told the board.
He said tourism currently generates $54 million a year for the city’s economy and is responsible for more than 700 full-time jobs.
During his presentation, Perrin highlighted the organization’s efforts to promote the city in markets such as Atlanta, Nashville and Washington, D.C. Perrin said BCM and Bristol Motor Speedway are doing a “great job” in marketing from group travel organizations and Discover Bristol wants to support this, but “the money has to be there”.
People also read…
Maggie Elliott, executive director of Believe in Bristol, which promotes Bristol city centre, said traders are still recovering from restrictions during COVID-19, but the organization continues to work to bring more people to the center -town.
“Bristol’s downtown businesses have 1,200 full-time employees — 563 in Bristol, Va. — making it the city’s largest employer,” Elliott said.
Last year, downtown businesses generated more than $500,000 in dining tax revenue and $450,000 in lodging tax revenue for city coffers, and the organization is also striving to attract more businesses to the area, she said.
Shauna Tilson, BCM’s director of development, said the organization emerged from COVID to welcome 27,000 people to the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival last September, with visitors from 42 states and three foreign countries. Additionally, the BCM museum has reopened, welcoming nearly 19,000 attendees, including 26 group tours.
Council made no commitments but will consider these and other funding requests, Mayor Anthony Farnum said after the meeting.
“We’re going to start talking to him immediately — every agency and every request — to see what the city can do,” Farnum said. “A lot of them were based on tourism. … We want to do what we can to support Bristol and support tourism. We already have big events, but we want to promote tourism all year round. Tourism brings in new taxes that the citizens here don’t have to pay.
At a budget workshop ahead of the meeting, City Manager Randy Eads said the city’s forecast calls for significant increases in tax revenue from restaurant meals and hotel lodging taxes — two indicators and categories partially related to visitor spending.
City lodging tax revenue is expected to reach $1.8 million in fiscal year 2022-23, an increase of $500,000 from the current year, while Meals are expected to increase by approximately $1.1 million from $5.2 million to $6.3 million in the next fiscal year.
Sales and use tax revenues are also expected to increase, while most other revenue categories, including real estate and personal property taxes, are expected to remain flat with no expected increase.
When asked afterward, Eads said the city has been watching for ever-rising gasoline prices, which could impact individual travel decisions.
” It’s a possibility. Americans have been unable to travel for the past two years and what we are seeing over the past year is that Americans are willing to travel,” Eads said. “At this point, we have not seen a significant reduction in our catering or lodging taxes. However, this is something we will need to continue to monitor as we move through the budget process to see if Americans change their travel habits based on gas prices.
Eads said the city, which buys its fuel in bulk, is already seeing increases.
“We’ve already seen our fuel costs jump dramatically over the last month to six weeks, depending on what’s happening overseas,” Eads said. “We expect to see this cost continue to increase for the foreseeable future. I don’t think there is a solution at the moment. We’ll keep an eye on it and make sure we’re budgeting appropriately. If we have to make an amendment to the budget at some point later in the year, that’s something we’ll have to do.
[email protected] | 276-645-2532 | Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC