Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 33
Lompoc could soon have a tourism district of its own
BY AMY ASMAN
The Lompoc City Council voted unanimously at its Oct. 15 meeting to adopt a resolution declaring the intention to launch a Lompoc Tourism Improvement District.
More than 80 percent of the hotel owner/operators in Lompoc signed a petition in favor of the district, which would be funded via a 2 percent assessment fee on hotel rooms. The hotel owners are expected to pay the fee, or they have the option to pass it along to their customers.
Verna Sulpizio of Civitas Advisors—a consulting firm hired by a group of local hotel owners to develop the tourism district—said the fee is estimated to generate approximately $250,000 per year for marketing and sales programs “to put heads in beds” in Lompoc. Having more overnight guests would also increase the Transient Occupancy Tax and sales tax paid to the city.
If the district is approved, the city would collect the fee, but a yet-to-be-formed nonprofit organization called Visit Lompoc would oversee the distribution of funds.
“Pretty much every single hotel in town has worked diligently to get this district formed,” Budget Inn of Lompoc Manager Paul Patel said during the meeting’s public comment period.
Patel said having more overnight guests would also translate as more money spent at local eateries, businesses, and gas stations. He said he’d like to see the money go toward bringing more tournaments and swim meets to the Lompoc Aquatics Center, as well as more business to area wineries.
The city was expected to send a notice to area hotel owners and operators regarding the tourism district on Oct. 16. A public comment meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5, followed by a final hearing on the matter on Dec. 3. If approved, the district would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
There are currently 80 tourism districts operating in California, including districts in San Luis Obispo, Tahoe, and San Diego.