Richmond Region Tourism aims for hotel fee to bolster visits to area

The plan would tack on a 2% additional fee on hotel rooms for the next 10 years.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 2:03 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A proposed Richmond Region Tourism Improvement District could be on the horizon. The plan would tack on a 2% additional fee on hotel rooms for the next 10 years.

“We know when visitors come here they spend money in our shops, our restaurants, our locally owned business. They provide jobs,” said Katherine O’Donnell, Richmond Region Tourism executive vice president.

The group estimates visitors spent more than $643 million in the city last year.

The plan would affect all lodging properties with 41 or more rooms. Each locality must sign off on the idea, including Richmond. That would also include Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Ashland, and Colonial Heights.

“It creates a very special pot of revenue to use specifically for marketing and advertising so that we can keep up with the other localities and regions,” said Richmond City Councilor Stephanie Lynch.

Richmond Region Tourism estimates it would bring in about $8.2 million in the first year alone. In addition to marketing and advertising, that money could be used to lure more events to the area, including large-scale events, high-profile sporting events and conventions.

“Our hotel community really sees this as an opportune time to make a bigger investment. There’s still room to grow. There’s still space in the hotels,” said O’Donnell.

Now the group is taking the proposal to each locality, hoping for approval, to help the restaurant, entertainment and tourism industry which is now bouncing back after the pandemic.

“We need to keep pace with those other regions throughout the country and this is one of the tools in the toolbox we have to do that,” said Lynch.

A city council committee will hear the proposal for the first time on Monday. If it moves forward, the city says there will be a public hearing on this as well down the road.