The city collected $30,000 more in taxes from hotels and motels in the current fiscal year compared with the previous year’s totals. The city received $107,962 for the period of June through December 2013, a 39 percent rise year-on-year from the first six months of fiscal 2012, when city tax collections gathered $77,762.
The current fiscal year ends June 30, 2014. The city budgets some $142,000 in collections for the full fiscal year.
Trevor Brown, executive director of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, said the results were boded well for the tourism sector after a dip in the previous year because of a delayed recession to the region. “It looks promising for the fiscal year. We’re well over halfway there,” said Brown.
Hotel bookings appear to be on the rise too.
“I would say we have gotten busier lately,” said Susan Johnson, general manager of the Best Western Kodiak Inn. “For us in general I’m trying to book conventions, and the conventions bring heads and beds. We’re starting to have some strong bookings for the summer.”
Other tourism and accommodations professionals had guarded optimism, however, stemming from a reliance on public funding for tourism promotion.
“Tourism in Kodiak continues to increase each year as our funding increases,” said Chastity Starrett, executive director of the Kodiak Conventions and Visitors Bureau. That gives us more opportunity to promote the island using different sources of media. And I think that we have a lot of exposure right now and that tourism will continue to increase as long as we’re able to financially sustain it.”
The city funds its tourism development fund entirely from its 5 percent bed tax, and makes contributions to tourism initiatives, such as the Kodiak Conventions and Visitors Bureau, a nonprofit started in 1985 to promote tourism for the city.
“Bed tax revenues are now open to a number of organizations that aren’t exactly investors into tourism, which means competition for those funds becomes all the more rigorous. We might see a decline in tourism to the island because of that. We hope to continue promoting into tourism and bed tax is a good investment into tourism.”
A year ago the city experienced a significant dip in the number of cruise ships visiting Kodiak, although that would not affect bed tax revenues.
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