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Hoteliers push for a Tourism Marketing District

OCEANSIDE — City Council accepted a petition to move forward with the creation of a Tourism Marketing District on Jan. 20, that will charge hotels and vacation rentals an extra 1.5 percent tax on their yearly gross revenues. The voluntary district tax will pump funds into marketing Oceanside as a destination location.
A petition signed by 82.42 percent of local hoteliers supports the proposed tax. Citywide there are 18 hotels with 30 rooms or more and more than 200 vacation rental properties that will pay the proposed tax.
“If you don’t have a presence in the marketplace your tourism dollars goes down,” Cami Mattson, president and CEO of San Diego North Convention and Visitors Bureau, said. “It’s critical to be competitive. To create the district is a wonderful way to keep Oceanside’s presence in the marketplace.”
The tax will give hoteliers greater control of marketing efforts. “The hotel industry is ready to stand up to create its own destiny,” Jane McVey, Oceanside economic and community development director, said.
“We want to show people a good reason to come here and there’s lots of them,” Melinda DiPerna, founder and president of BETTER Vacation Rentals, said.
The proposed tax will support the creation of a nonprofit organization, Visit Oceanside, which will direct and execute a yearly sales and marketing plan. The nonprofit will also take over the management and costs of running the Welcome Center from the city.
“It’s a win-win for the city of Oceanside and the California Welcome Center,” David Nydegger, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce which operates the Welcome Center, said. “We would like to help ourselves and help the city out too.”
The proposed district and nonprofit organization are scheduled to begin in April 2010 and run for five years.
There will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposed Tourism Marketing District tax at the next council meeting on Feb. 24. A final decision on the district tax will be made on March 17.