Des Moines council plans tourism spending
The Des Moines City Council approved on Oct. 6 its Lodging Tax Advisory Committee's recommendations for the expenditure of 2005-2008 lodging tax revenues.
These funds will provide the city with destination marketing services to increase tourism business income.
"By 2010, tourism will be the number one industry in the state of Washington, said Katherine Kertzman, program director for the committee, who provided an overview of the marketing services that would be available to the city upon approval.
The committee recommended that lodging revenues be dedicated to Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS) to help promote Des Moines as a tourist destination.
They requested these services for inclusion in the 2006 city budget process.
According to Kertzman, the committee recommends that 100 percent of Des Moines' hotel-motel tax funds collected during 2005-2008 be dedicated to membership with SSVS. Kertzman is the SSVS director.
Lawmakers established the tax, which is collected from lodging customers, in December 2004 and it went into effect this year.
The tax, used solely for paying for tourism promotions, is projected to generate $5,000 in 2005 and $12,000 annually thereafter.
To become a member of SSVS, the city would have to enter into an interlocal agreement with SSVS for three years, said Kertzman.
In addition to marketing services, this membership will help the city of Des Moines to partner with its neighboring cities of Tukwila, SeaTac and Kent, which already have formed an alliance to promote their communities.
"A coordinated, cooperative effort really does produce bigger results," Kertzman added.
After working since 2004 to build a relationship with SSVS, Des Moines now is positioned to become a featured destination because of its waterfront resources and location on Puget Sound.
"Although [the city] is not yet a member, [its] unofficial relationship netted the inclusion of Des Moines waterfront parks on selected pages in the 2005 Vacation Planner," said Kertzman.
Some of the services available to the city if the 2006-2008 interlocal marketing agreement is signed are business community liaisons, inclusion in media campaigns and featured locations in national travel publications and on the website (www.SeattleSouthside.com).
Des Moines will receive all of the benefits of the program for less than 2 percent of the total cost of the program due to the small amount of funds collected in the city.
The city would pay $12,000 annually, while Kent pays $100,000, SeaTac $370,000 and Tukwila $370,000 because they generate more revenue.
As a result, Kertzman noted, some businesses, excluding hotels and major tourist attractions, will have to pay a minimal fee for marketing strategies if they choose to participate.
For example, the city would supplement the $12,000 annual contact with SSVS with an additional $5,000 from unallocated 2005 lodging tax funds to add pages to the vacation planner to feature some of the Des Moines' restaurants, hotels and attractions.