Tourism board cracks down on tax dodgers

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The Pagosa Springs Area Tourism Board, formerly the Town Tourism Committee, which is entirely funded by revenue collected from the local lodgers’ tax, will be required to operate on a smaller budget next year.

“We are .7 percent up for the year,” Director Jennie Green reported at the board’s Tuesday afternoon meeting, “so we are running fairly flat over last year.”

Green added that the board has received funds from Archuleta County, but no historical data. She also speculated that vacation rentals could be a factor in the lack of revenue growth, as well as a reduction in hotel inventory. There were approximately 100 fewer rooms available this summer because of a major remodeling project at one of the local motels.

Green predicted that the revenue projections for the 2016 budget would be closer to the projections for this year, assuming the remodel project is over and inventory is back to normal.

“We also need to shave $133,000 from the 2016 budget,” Green added, “because the 2015 budget was spending out of reserves that we have been carrying for more than four years.”

While a temporary reduction in hotel room inventory may have contributed to this summer’s lack of revenue growth compared to previous years, Green suggested a more significant contributing factor could be a recent shift in tourist behavior. In particular, more and more visitors are deciding to forgo staying in hotels or motels, opting instead for short-term vacation rentals.

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