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City Council To Vote On Renewing Tourism Marketing District For 40 Years

The San Diego City Council's Budget and Finance Committee today unanimously approved a draft plan to reauthorize the city's Tourism Marketing District, which collects money from hotels for programs designed to attract visitors.

The Tourism Marketing District Management Plan will next go before the full council. If approved, it would be renewed for 39.5 years.

San Diego has about 15 million overnight visitors each year. The TMD, a pilot program set to expire at the end of this calendar year, currently takes 2 percent of gross room revenues from hotels with 70 or more rooms and redirects the funds to organizations like the Convention and Visitors Bureau or other activities that benefit the assessed businesses.

"When it comes to conventions and competition, people have a choice of where they go. If we are not marketing our city, people will go somewhere else,'' said Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer.

The proposed plan would take 2 percent of gross room revenues from hotels with 30 or more rooms and .55 percent from those with less, which is expected to bring in about $30 million annually for sales and marketing programs.

"The TMD is, of course, a very important asset to our city. The tourism industry is the third-largest revenue generator for our local economy and a key employment sector,'' said Councilman Todd Gloria. "Additional marketing of San Diego is critical of maintaining or increasing hotel occupancy rates.''

The district was formed in 2007 as a five-year pilot program, and started operations at the beginning of 2008. It will stop collecting funds after Dec. 31 unless it is reauthorized.

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