Multiple Colorado counties and towns approved ballot measures on November 8 to shift lodging tax revenue—a key funding source for tourism promotion— toward local community initiatives. The passage of the measures underscore the Skift megatrend that communities are no longer spectators in travel.
Ballot measures to increase lodging taxes to fund affordable housing and other community initiatives were passed in Estes Park, Summit County, Glenwood Springs, Dillon, Eagle County, Lyons, Nederland and other municipalities. The measures didn’t pass in the municipalities of Grand Junction, Centennial and Hudson.
Many of the measures were passed with overwhelming majority support. In Estes Park, 63 percent of voters approved an additional 3.5 percent lodging tax extension on the local marketing district.
Some local DMOs supported the ballot measures and their approval. “With the support of our board of directors and the community, we were able to not only support opening this funding avenue to support essential community needs, but to also work diligently to ensure that Visit Estes Park can continue to provide important marketing and management services to our tourism partners and guests by protecting our existing budget,” said Visit Estes Park CEO Kara Franker.
The ballot measures came into play this year thanks to a bill signed by Colorado Governor that allowed municipalities to let voters decide how to allocate up to 90 percent of lodging tax funds to areas outside of tourism promotion.