WILMINGTON — Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) Executive Director Debbie Stamper told commissioners Wednesday the tourism sales trend in the county is a positive one.
She spoke about the economic impact that people visiting here have, using numbers from a bi-annual report prepared by the company Tourism Economics. In particular, Stamper compared 2015 Clinton County data with the local figures from 2013 and 2011.
And although she did not mention the possibility Wilmington City Council may change the way the hotel lodging tax revenue is currently distributed, her summary handout states, “Investing in the Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau delivers a solid return for the City of Wilmington and Clinton County.”
If the change is made, the city would have access to more “bed tax” revenue than in the past, and the CVB presumably would end up with less of the funds. This spring, city council’s Judiciary Committee said there are good legislative grounds to have the CVB get half of the lodging tax revenue and for city council to allot the other half.
Visitors generated $89.4 million in business activity in Clinton County last year, a figure which includes estimates of indirect (supply-chain) impact, plus the impact of hospitality industries’ employees spending their wages. That overall number of $89.4 million is almost $8 million more than visitors generated here in 2011, said Stamper.
She said that even before the Tourism Economics’ report was available, “We knew that last year was a good year [for drawing visitors],” based on local hotel occupancy.
Stamper said she just heard that one of the local hotels has a contract for 30 rooms per night over the next three or four months. After her appointment with commissioners ended, she said she isn’t at liberty to divulge information about the client.
“This particular piece of business is going to keep people there throughout the week,” she noted during the session.
Stamper said for the sake of CVB accountability, it is key to be able to show that dollars spent to bring visitors to the county are getting “translated into positive results.”
The economic impact report helps show that, she said, “and the fact of continued growth speaks on our behalf.”
The CVB has the mission to grow the number of visitors who seek services from local hospitality industries including hotels, restaurants and service stations.
If the city does get half of the hotel lodging tax revenue, city officials have mentioned spending the dollars for the city parks system.
On another matter, staff at the county prosecuting attorney’s office is requesting new window treatments be acquired for the newly installed windows in the downtown building (the former post office).
Prosecutor’s Office Administrator Kelly Shoemaker told commissioners Wednesday there is so much sunlight coming in through the large windows that staffers cannot read copier and computer screens.
A price estimate from a local shop, including installation of the 10 large shades, is $7,277. If a one-year warranty is not obtained, the shop operator thinks $1,000 can be cut from the cost.
Commissioners did not take immediate action on the request.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.