Fort Collins OKs tourism district, bed-tax boost

FORT COLLINS — Fort Collins City Council Wednesday agreed to form a Tourism Improvement District to promote business and personal travel to the area.

TIDs are like business improvement districts but hospitality-focused. The TID, sought by destination marketer Visit Fort Collins, formalizes the city’s tourism marketing, and doubles its lodging tax to 6%.

Hotels also pay a sales tax of 7.5%.

The new fee is expected to raise $800,000 a year; 23 hotels with 79% of total rooms locally agreed to the fee and are in the TID.

Clay Frickey, Fort Collins redevelopment program manager, said 12 to 15 tourism groups operate in Colorado and that the new fee moves the city to the top five in lodging tax, representing increased commitment to tourism promotion.

“This allows them to do more,” he said of Visit Fort Collins and the new district, making fee collection efficient and increasing accountability as to where money is spent.

Visit Fort Collins CEO Cynthia Eichler said, “the city is the fourth-largest in the state but not the fourth most-funded for tourism.”

The fee “makes us more competitive [and] lets us tell our story” to visitors who “enjoy and respect the outdoors.”

She said the city and Visit Fort Collins began discussing the district “pre-COVID” and picked up the conversation  again recently as hotels look to recover.

“It’s self-rescue in the short-term” and economic viability over time, she said.

Only hotels are in the TID, though related businesses — golf courses, restaurants, venues, and so on — can join Visit Fort Collins.

Short-term rentals aren’t in the TID, planning documents said.

The city is paid 2% of the revenue a year to collect the fee.

Three-fourths of annual income from the new fee is budgeted for sales, marketing, communication, and destination development, documents show.

These activities include travel, trade shows, public relations, and local development which could include event-specific shuttles, live music, sporting events, museum exhibits — all aimed at attracting a prospective overnight visitor to Fort Collins.

Visit Fort Collins, separate from the TID, gets 70% of the current 3% fee; the rest goes to the city’s Fort Fund arts and culture grants.

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FORT COLLINS — Fort Collins City Council Wednesday agreed to form a Tourism Improvement District to promote business and personal travel to the area.

TIDs are like business improvement districts but hospitality-focused. The TID, sought by destination marketer Visit Fort Collins, formalizes the city’s tourism marketing, and doubles its lodging tax to 6%.

Hotels also pay a sales tax of 7.5%.

The new fee is expected to raise $800,000 a year; 23 hotels with 79% of total rooms locally agreed to the fee and are in the TID.

Clay Frickey, Fort Collins redevelopment program manager, said 12 to 15 tourism groups operate in Colorado and that the new fee moves the city to the top five in lodging tax, representing increased commitment to tourism promotion.

“This allows them to do more,” he said of Visit Fort Collins and the new district, making fee collection efficient and increasing accountability as to where money is spent.

Visit Fort Collins CEO Cynthia Eichler said, “the city is the fourth-largest in the state but not the fourth most-funded for tourism.”

The fee “makes us more competitive [and] lets us tell our story” to visitors who “enjoy and respect the outdoors.”

She said the city and Visit Fort Collins began discussing the district “pre-COVID” and picked up the conversation  again recently as hotels look to recover.

“It’s self-rescue in the short-term” and economic viability over time, she said.

Only hotels are in the TID, though related businesses — golf courses, restaurants, venues, and so on — can join Visit Fort Collins.

Short-term rentals aren’t in the…