To the Editor:
I’d like to take this opportunity to address the voters of Gunnison County. In the coming weeks you will have plenty of opportunities to learn more about the Local Marketing District (LMD) and why it will be appearing on the November ballot.
At this point in time I’d like to address a few things to help you understand the importance of the LMD and why it is important that come November you vote to support reauthorization.
First the LMD was established in 2002, by the vote of the people, to collect a 4% tax on lodging. The money collected from the LMD tax is used to market Gunnison County as a year-round destination. The Gunnison-Crested Tourism Association (GCBTA) is the official marketing organization whose sole purpose and focus is to market Gunnison County.
Secondly the LMD money is generated by visitors who rent rooms in our hotels, motels, B&Bs, cabins, vacation homes, condos and lodges. No money comes out of local’s pockets. How much money is generated? Since 2003, the first full year the LMD was collected, the LMD has increased 30% generating $1,031,915 in 2008. Those dollars are used on marketing which includes the investment of advertisements to target potential visitors for summer, winter and our shoulder seasons.
Lastly, tourism generates nearly 50% of Gunnison County’s economy. The dollars collected by the LMD and spent by GCBTA have increased visitor spending year over year since 2003. Tourist spending dollars in Gunnison County increases our tax base across the board—more tourists means more money coming from outside Gunnison County and being spent in local shops, restaurants and lodging properties.
Join me in supporting the reauthorization of the Local Marketing District—the LMD is free and it is working for you and me.
Stephen J. Pierotti
Publisher/Co-owner Gunnison Country Times
Co-chair Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association