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Lodgers’ tax revenues down from previous two years, up compared to pre-pandemic


Prior to a March 19 Pagosa Springs Area Tourism Board meeting, Tourism Director Jenny Green released the lodgers’ tax revenue financial report for 2023. 

The report offers a window into the health of the tourism economy in the community. 

At the meeting, Pagosa Springs Town Council and tourism board member Gary Williams asked, “I want to know, are we generally doing better this year than the last five years?”

The financial report shows that, in general, lodging tax revenues for 2023 are down when compared to 2021 and 2022, but up when compared to the years from 2007 to 2020. 

The report states that compared to the pre-pandemic years, the combined town and county 2023 lodging tax revenues reflect a 34.39 percent increase, or an increase of $330,305. 

When town collections for 2023 are compared to the year 2022, the numbers show a 14.69 percent (or a $137,706) decrease, but show a nearly 13 percent increase when compared to the pre-pandemic years. 

For the county’s part, lodgers’ tax revenue collection numbers for 2023 show a 6.88 percent (or a $36,275) decrease when compared to the previous year, but show an 84 percent increase when compared to the pre-pandemic years.

When the town’s and county’s lodging collections are combined, it amounts to a nearly 12 percent decrease from the previous year, but reflects a 34.39 percent increase from the pre-pandemic years’ collections.

This phenomenon was called a “plateauing” by previous town manager Greg Schulte. The data reflects that the peak for lodging tax revenues was 2021, but since then a sort of plateau has formed that is establishing a higher line than the years before the pandemic.

This means that while tax revenue collections from both sales and lodging taxes might be down compared to the previous year, they are up in the longer-term trend. 

At the meeting, Green said, “I don’t see us ever matching the numbers that we saw in 2020 and 2021, not for quite some time.”

However, she also noted that she didn’t see the area’s tourism-based economy dipping below what it was in the years before the pandemic. 

“Pagosa has been discovered,” she said.