City approves hotel fee to promote tourism

Holiday Inn Express is one of several local hotels where the fee would be collected.

Visitors who stay at Lynnwood’s largest hotels will be paying a little bit extra to help promote tourism.

At the request of local hoteliers, the City Council voted last week to join a so-called “Tourism Promotion Area” in Snohomish County.  It imposes a one dollar fee per room, per night at hotels with 50 or more rooms throughout the county.

“It just makes good business sense for us, especially when the State of Washington is going to cut their tourism funds next month. All the hoteliers here in the area do support it,” said Ernie Matthews from Lynnwood’s Coutyard By Marriott.

Arlington is the only city in Snohomish County that hasn’t yet approved joining the TPA. It’s expected to take a vote this month.

The fee would generate about a million dollars per year, based on 60 percent occupancy. Organizations could then apply for the money to create programs aimed at increasing tourism and convention business.

Amy Spain, Executive Director of Snohomish County Tourism Bureau, said it’s well worth the investment.

“With travel spending accounting for almost a billion dollars in state tax revenue in 2010, visitors from outside of Washington state generate $240 of tax revenue for every Washington household. Visitors to Snohomish County generate over $13 million in local taxes. Tourism truly is economic development,” Spain said.

If approved by Arlington, the fee would start being collected in April.

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