Posts Tagged ‘Green Valley’

12th June
2009
written by Arizona Kid

A few months back Rep. Antenori at the request of the Green Valley Chamber of Commerce, took aim at the MTCVB for lack of love going down Green Valley way. Antenori worked up a bill to allow funds to be diverted to the GV Chamber. The bill was stopped and appears a deal was struck.

(From Green Valley News – Follow below link)

Pressure helps bring tourism dollars to GV

By Daniel Newhauser, Green Valley News

Published: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 7:17 PM MDT
Green Valley will see an influx of money to help spur tourism thanks to months of negotiations and pressure from a bill that would have changed the way hotel bed-tax money is doled out.
In an agreement with the Green Valley Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, which receives 3 percent of county bed taxes from hotels in unincorporated areas, will use a percentage of tax money that comes from Green Valley hotels to promote tourism in the community, said Jim DiGiacomo, chamber president.

“It’s a milestone for the chamber and this area,” he said. “It’ll bring more people here and, in turn, it helps businesses.”

Rep. Frank Antenori, who represents Southern Arizona and Green Valley, mediated the discussions between the two organizations in his Phoenix office. He said the contract stipulates that the visitors bureau will calculate the total bed-tax revenue collected in Green Valley and give one-third of it in the form of a grant to the chamber to use to promote tourism.

“We sat down, hammered it out, and came up with a deal,” Antenori said. “Now, (Green Valley is) going to be able to pull the resources of all the hotels and resorts in the area and get a good marketing effort together.”

DiGiacomo said the money will be used to pay upkeep for the chamber office as well as produce and distribute pamphlets showcasing tourist attractions and beef up online promotions.

The agreement also gives the chamber representation on the visitors bureau’s marketing committee and a chance to be on the board of directors, he added.

The change will take effect July 1 and last for three years after which both parties have the option to renegotiate.

Jonathan Walker, the Tucson visitors bureau’s president and CEO, said Green Valley should see more tourist spending as a result of the efforts.

“We’re going to figure out how to work hand-in-hand to better market Green Valley as a tourist destination,” Walker said. “We’re trying to do something positive for the Green Valley area.”

He added that the bureau has similar agreements with other Arizona communities.

The change comes on the heels of a now-dead state bill that, if passed, would have change the way bed-tax money is divided.

Currently, Pima County levies a 6 percent tax on hotels and motels in unincorporated areas such as Green Valley; the tax netted $8.7 million in fiscal year 2007-08. Half of that, per state law, is designated for the county’s “recognized tourism promotion agency.” The only such agency in Pima County is the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, whose Web site — www.visittucson.org — describes it as “the chief marketing agency for Tucson and Southern Arizona.”

With four major hotels and a number of bed-and-breakfasts, Green Valley pays a significant amount of money into the bureau’s funding stream but doesn’t get its fair share back, said Randy Graf, chair of the chamber’s governmental affairs team.

“We felt that most of that was being concentrated in Tucson itself. We didn’t feel like enough of it was coming here,” he said. “The word ‘metropolitan’ in there sort of indicates that they are working for the greater Tucson area.”

So chamber officials proposed to Antenori HB 2487, which would have allowed more than one recognized tourism promotion entity to receive part of the distribution from the county. That would give the Green Valley Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce, or any number of agencies from unincorporated areas, the opportunity to get a piece of the county funds.

Instead of seeing the bill through the Legislature, however, chamber officials met with visitors bureau officials several times since March to negotiate a way to share existing funds, Graf said.

“Bills like this can get people’s attention, bring stakeholders to the table,” he said. “If they can get together, negotiate, then the bill is no longer necessary.”

After the deal was struck, Antenori said, he killed the bill.

“The bill had its desired effect, which was to basically level the disparity in how the bed tax was done,” Antenori said. “I think everybody wins. In the long run, I think it’s going to pay off big time for Southern Arizona.”

And he added that the agreement could serve as a precedent for other unincorporated communities: If they organize chambers of commerce and a solid marketing plan, they could appeal for a chance to get funding, too.

“That’s a fair way to do it,” he said. “I don’t see what’s wrong with that.”

dnewhauser@gvnews.com

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