CALISTOGA -- The Calistoga City Council Tuesday night voted to join the rest of Napa County in forming a tourism business improvement district, clearing the way for the Napa County Board of Supervisors to implement a regional destination marketing tool that proponents say will make Napa Valley more competitive.
The council voted 4-0, with one member abstaining , in favor of the TBID after hearing months of debate from local hoteliers, ranging from bed and breakfasts to large spas and resorts.
Support from local businesses was nearly unanimous, with only two out of 42 lodging owners not supporting the TBID, according to City Manager Jim McCAnn. The dissent from those businesses, he said, centered on whether now, in a recession, was the best time to increase fees on visitors, a theme heard throughout the months-long process but which was ultimately overcome by each city in Napa County,
The TBID will add a 2 percent assessment on visitors’ fees, which will then be distributed into a countywide marketing fund in conjunction with the Napa Valley Destination Council. Each city will contribute 75 percent revenue generated from the two percent assessment into the regional effort, with the remaining 25 percent to be allocated to the five cities’ individual marketing funds. The TBID is in addition to the various transient-occupancy taxes in each city, and money from the TBID cannot be used in a city’ general fund.
The destination council said the TBID could generate as much as $4 million for the county-wide effort.
The city of Calistoga stands to receive approximately $125,000 for it its local tourism efforts, according to a report authored by Mr. McCann that was presented to the city council a few weeks ago.
Most recently, he said, “The hotel owners are the advocates and strongly encourage that it be allowed to form, to raise private money instead of relying on public funding for destination funding.”
The Napa County Board of Supervisors endorsed the TBID in February and urged each city council to approve the measure. Now that support is final from American Canyon, St. Helena, Yountville, Napa and Calistoga, the county will introduce a resolution of intent to adopt the TBID on April 27.