The Seattle City Council passed legislation last month proposing the establishment of a Seattle Tourism Improvement Area, which would create a dedicated source of funding for tourism marketing and promotion for the city of Seattle and a number of neighborhoods in and around the city center. The Council will be holding a public hearing on the proposal at 5:30 p.m. today, Monday, August 8.
Under the proposed plan, hotels with 60 rooms or more within the greater downtown area, or “improvement area,” (pictured above) – including Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Belltown, Pioneer Square, the International District and portions of Capitol Hill – would be required to levy a $2 surcharge per occupied room per night. The money from the new surcharge would then be pooled and used “for marketing and promotional activities designed to draw individuals and families to Seattle for vacation.” The marketing efforts would be managed by Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
According to the city, the project will, “Bring more tourists to Seattle, bolster hotel occupancy, protect current jobs, create new jobs, increase business at restaurants and retail stores, and increase patronage at arts, cultural and music venues.”
So far a number of city and county leaders have thrown their support behind the plan, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Mike McGinn and a number of community organizations. Lower Queen Anne’s Maxwell Hotel and its parent company Pineapple Hospitality have also shown support for the program.
“Pineapple Hospitality and The Maxwell Hotel supports the Seattle Hotel Association, the Seattle Convention Visitors Bureau and tourism in Washington State. We hope people will continue to visit our amazing city and all that it has to offer,” a Pineapple Hospitality representative told Queen Anne View.
According to the Seattle Conventions and Visitors Bureau, the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area (STIA) would raise between $5-6 million in 2012, create a total economic impact of $34.3 million, generate $3.42 million in state and local taxes, and support the creation of 560 new jobs in the hotel and hospitality sector. The plan would not cost the city of Seattle anything, according to Seattle City Council.
To find out more about the proposed Seattle Tourism Improvement Area and how it would work to promote tourism and bolster economic growth in attraction filled area’s in and around the city center, attend the public hearing at Seattle City Hall (600 4th Avenue) tonight, Monday August 8. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor.
To read up on the proposal before the meeting, check out the STIA project FAQs here (.pdf).