Thanks to the tireless efforts of Visit Salt Lake, led by President & CEO Kaitlin Eskelson and her talented staff, on June 13, 2023, the first-ever Convention and Tourism Assessment Area in Utah was established in Salt Lake County.
Participating hotels will levy a 2% assessment on gross short-term guest room rental revenue, with collection beginning on October 1st. This assessment is projected to generate an estimated 50% increase in the annual budget to support initiatives that attract large conferences, conventions, meetings, and sporting events. The Salt Lake County Convention and Tourism Assessment (SLCo CTAA) will operate for a term of five (5) years.
Raised funds will be allocated to many services benefiting the hotel businesses within the CTAA. Some of these include new visitor profile research program development, domestic and international marketing campaigns, marketing communication channel expansion, global travel trade and media reach growth, and community health programs.
Creating a successful district can come with its fair share of struggles, but overcoming them is essential for its growth and prosperity. One of the challenges faced was the need to better communicate the value of tourism to elected officials. Despite its potential benefits, there may be a need for more understanding of tourism’s positive impact on a district’s economy and development. Additionally, there were (and are) concerns about destination overcrowding in locales across the U.S. trail and recreational areas. This overcrowding causes local municipalities to worry about its strain on resources and infrastructure. However, assurances were provided that local and regional promotions would be highly targeted to need areas.
“We are pleased that the hotels are on board, and the municipalities and Salt Lake County Council ultimately understood the tremendous benefit this will bring to our entire community,” Eskelson said.
Salt Lake County’s $4.62 billion visitor economy represents an impressive 46% of the state’s $10.1 billion visitor economy. Furthermore, each convention delegate contributes an average of $971, benefiting local restaurants, bars, recreation venues, and hotels. These impacts generate $1,238 in tax relief for each household within Salt Lake County and support over 48,000 tourism-related jobs.
Despite its considerable efforts, Visit Salt Lake currently ranks as the second least funded organization among the destinations it competes with for overnight visitors. Additional funding for sales and marketing programming is crucial for Visit Salt Lake to compete effectively against competitive cities and to maintain and enhance Salt Lake County’s position as a best-in-class destination.
Civitas is honored to have assisted on this project and congratulates Kaitlin Eskelson, her exceptional team at Visit Salt Lake, and all the stakeholders involved in this commendable accomplishment. We are excited to watch the impact of the SLCo CTAA unfold in the years to come.