Hotel fee set to start July 1 will help promote Richmond-area tourism
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Larger hotels in the Richmond area will soon begin to charge a 2% fee on their nightly rate, all in the name of tourism.
“Who would disagree with tourism? Who would disagree with having people come to your city? Nobody,” said Richmond City Councilmember Ellen Robertson.
The Tourism Improvement District designation allows hotels in Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Ashland to charge the hotel guest fee.
The fee is expected to generate as much as $8 million each year and will be used to promote the Richmond region as a travel destination.
“It will just put us on another whole new dimension,” said Jack Berry, president and chief executive officer of Richmond Region Tourism.
Berry says that they never had the budget to place ads on televisions in other cities. The fee, which will go into effect on July 1, will help pay for that. It will also raise money to attract more sporting events to the area.
“Sports tourism has been here, but now it’s just exploding, but it’s very competitive,” Berry said. “So with this Tourism Improvement District fund, we can also go after more and more sports tourism.”
Berry says they are targeting cities along the Interstate 95 corridor, including Raleigh, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.
“It provides extra horsepower for our marketing efforts, again just to attract great events, sports tournaments, professional events,” said Leonard Sledge, director of the City of Richmond Department of Economic Development.
Currently, Richmond Region Tourism is on track to break last year’s record by 16%. In 2021, the area hosted 6.6 million overnight visitors, who spend $2.9 billion locally.
“The sort of ripple effect of the tourism sector has broad reach in our local economy,” said City of Richmond Business Services Manager Tara Worden. “So small businesses benefit. Our restaurants, our breweries, all the things people love about Richmond.”
A subcommittee will decide how the money is used. Two-thirds of the committee is made up of smaller hotel representatives that manage fewer than 149 rooms.
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