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Published on : Friday, June 23, 2017
This year, the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau will receive $526,500 as funding from St. Charles. Without an effort of documenting the profit the city based businesses will get out of that investment, the cash won’t be payed whatsoever.
In 2016, Alderman Rita Payleitner asked for a dollar-for-dollar comparison of city funding against the tourism money the bureau churns out. One number fueling her questions this week is a 3.78 percent reduction in hotel tax receipts. In comparison to last year, city officials project a loss of $76,000 this year. To quote Payleitner, “I’m No. 1 charged with thoughtfully spending our taxpayers’ money. How did we do with our $500,000 investment? What was our return on that? Is there such a thing?”
Payleitner didn’t receive the number she wanted. The bureau never gets all the tourism income. City hotels, restaurants and attractions get that money. The bureau’s performance report doesn’t include a dollar return. As an alternative, it keeps an eye on tourism activity like hotel room bookings and turnout at conventions.
Those numbers are increasing. In 2015-16, the convention attracted 1,227 hotel room night bookings and 4,607 people for local events. In 2017, funding year expires in June 30th; those numbers are already at least 7,608 hotel bookings and 9,803 tourists.
To quote Lula Cassidy, executive director of the bureau, ‘I would say that’s a bit of a jump. We are very proud of that. Those are visitors out and about in the streets, which is what really spreads economic impact.’