NAPA — A county-wide tourism program that will promote all of Napa Valley by way of a 2 percent assessment on visitors’ hotel rooms was given final approval by the Napa County Board of Supervisors earlier last week.
Funds from the assessment, part of what is called a tourism business improvement district, by law cannot be used for any purposes beyond destination marketing. It was approved by a 4-0 vote, with Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht absent.
The Napa Valley Destination Council, which lobbied each city in Napa to approve of the TBID locally, will now stand to receive approximately $4 million annually to be used solely for marketing all of Napa County as a destination, a vast increase from its previous budget of roughly $400,000.
In order for the TBID to pass, a simple majority of hoteliers in each city and in unincorporated areas of the county had to approve of the assessment, and each city council had to approve it in order to receive its share of marketing dollars.
Revenue generated from the TBID will fund individual municipalities’ tourism efforts in addition to the countywide program overseen by the Destination Council, with 75 percent of total funding going toward the countywide program and 25 percent to the various cities to promote themselves.
Each council approved it by a final margin of 22 council members voting in favor to only one opposing vote and two abstentions. According to the Destination Council, the cities of Napa County are projected to receive significant annual dollars from the TBID – American Canyon, $23,000; Calistoga, $125,000; Napa, $300,000; St. Helena, $50,000; Yountville, $160,000; and unincorporated parts of the county, $350,000.
More than 70 percent of responding hoteliers and lodging owners in the county expressed support for the assessment, according to the final tally by the Napa County Community and Intergovernmental Affairs office, which tabulated the petitions needed to pass the TBID.
“We’re excited about the dollars available to market the destination, and fill both our hotels and retail centers,” said Debra Dommen, vice chair of advocacy on the Napa Chamber of Commerce, which will have a member on the Napa oversight committee.
Each city will be required to form a similar committee, and a countywide committee will consist of eight hoteliers, a representative from each city, one representative from the Destination Council and one representative from the county.
The ordinance will officially go into effect on July 1. The effort to establish a TBID in Napa County by the Destination Council took a total of nine months, which proponents said is a relatively short period of time and underscores the support it received.