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Posts Tagged: Butte County

Butte County Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) will help develop agritourism

Butte County hotel and motel operators have partnered with county and city governments to form a new Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) that will assess a 2 percent fee on short-term stays to promote the many attractions of the county, including agritourism. The goal of the new district is to increase overnight stays by visitors throughout Butte county, and hotel operators see agritourism as a strong driver for attracting overnight visitors.

Brooke Smith, sales manager at the Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn in Chico, promises that Explore Butte County, the non-profit organization funded by the TBID, will help with things such as promoting agricultural tourism, Lake Oroville and local cities. Smith explained that Explore Butte County intends to establish a grant program that will assist local partners, including agritourism operations, in their promotions. Board members of Explore Butte County are primarily hotel and motel operators, but the board also includes Nicole Johansson, a marketing professional and organizer of the popular Sierra Oro Farm Trail.

In the TBID process, local lodging operators agree to assess themselves and ask the local government to collect the money and pass the funds onto a designated tourism promotion organization, often times the Visitors and Convention Bureau or a non-profit organization such as Explore Butte County. Many county and cities in California have established TBIDs, including Napa Valley, Sacramento County, Placer County, Monterey County, San Diego, Long Beach and Oceanside. By the end of 2014, there were 85 California TBIDs. Many of these communities, including Butte County, were assisted by Civitas, a consulting firm specializing in TBID formation.

The Butte County effort started in 2013 with the development of a Regional Tourism Strategy and Implementation Plan, and the realization of the need for a consistent funding source to implement the plan. Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT) fees added to all short-term stays in hotels, motels and B&Bs, were originally intended to pay for tourism promotion. However, budget shortfalls in many counties and cities caused TOT funds to be transferred to the general fund to pay for other needs. TBID fees cannot go into general funds, but are directed entirely toward tourism promotion. Butte County partnered with municipalities in the county to approach hotels and motels about working together to establish the TBID. Buy-in of 51 percent of the hotels was needed to be able to petition the county board of supervisors to establish the TBID.

The next step for Explore Butte County is to hire a marketing firm to work with the board on the tourism marketing strategic plan and implementation program. The marketing RFP has just been released, and proposals are due by June 30 from any interested parties. Local Butte County marketing firms are specifically invited to submit proposals. Please send any questions pertaining to the RFP via email to xplorebutte@gmail.com 

Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 11:13 AM
Tags: agritourism (1), Butte County (1), TBID (1), tourism (1)
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