Hotel tax earnings up 8.8% in 2013
by Jon Gillooly
September 26, 2013 12:52 AM | 1833 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Hotel-motel tax collections are up 8.8 percent from last year, which is a good sign that the economy is improving, said Holly Bass, CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism.

“I think people are starting to meet again,” Bass said. “Like activity at the convention center is up, activity with the hotels, business travel, sports travel — all of those things kind of combined, that’s the reason that the whole hotel-motel tax is up.”

Cobb Travel’s governing board met at Douceur De France by the Marietta Square on Tuesday to approve its budget for the fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. The budget balances revenues and expenses at $1.33 million, compared to fiscal 2013’s budget of $1.28 million, an increase of 3.72 percent.

Cobb Travel’s new budget funds nine employees, the same as last year, all of whom will receive a 3 percent raise, said Lindsey Burruss, Cobb Travel’s marketing director.

The budget leaves $233,000 in its reserve fund.

Cobb Travel’s mission is to promote tourism, conventions, trade shows and sports development activity throughout the county.

“Tourism, as a whole, is the largest economic driver in Cobb,” Bass said. “Tourism’s impact is $2.18 billion, which is a 5 percent increase over the previous year, $2.02 billion. Tourism supports more than 31,000 jobs in Cobb County, which is an increase of 4.7 percent from the previous year.”

Cobb Travel receives most of its funding — about 68 percent — from the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority. The Exhibit Hall Authority provides Cobb Travel with 8 percent of its gross hotel-motel tax collections. The rest of its funding comes from partnerships, sponsorships and event participations.

The Cobb County Convention & Visitors Bureau was created in 1984 as the tourism wing of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. In 1991, it was incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)6 organization. In November 2011 the CVB adopted a new name “Cobb Travel & Tourism” and new slogan “Atlanta’s sweet spot.”

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