We are a week into February. The terms of all the people still serving on the Tourism Board expired more than a month ago, at the end of December, and there has been no apparent moves to reappoint people or appoint new people to the board.
The Tourism Board was created in 2017 by the same legislation that established the lodging tax. The nine member board, chaired by the alder who chaired the Economic Development Committee, was made up of four members appointed by the mayor and four members appointed by the Common Council. According to the law, the Tourism Board was "empowered to take all reasonable steps it determines desirable, necessary and proper to market the City of Hudson as a destination for overnight and day-trip visitors."
In 2019, when the original Tourism Board wanted to hire a consulting firm called Chandlerthinks to help craft a marketing strategy for Hudson, there was a groundswell of objection. So, in 2020, a whole new Tourism Board was put in place, one that was determined to "rethink and redefine 'tourism' to benefit Hudson." In two years, this group doled out close to half a million dollars funding projects that conformed with their redefinition of tourism in the time of a pandemic. The group was criticized for funding projects with connections to members of the board and projects that could not demonstrate they attracted visitors to Hudson.
This year, the Tourism Board has about $50,000 to invest in events and initiatives, but so far, there is no Tourism Board in place to make decisions about how to distribute the money. The rumor is that there may not be a third iteration of the Tourism Board and its role in distributing funding may be taken over by a committee of alders. This would bring us back to 2000, when the Arts, Entertainment and Tourism Committee was established as a standing committee of the Common Council. During its existence (it was eliminated by Council president Tom DePietro in 2018), one of the committee's major tasks was parceling out a pot of money, usually $20,000 or $25,000, to festivals and events seeking support from the City.
Last night, Alder Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward) asked about the Tourism Board. He was told by DePietro that a resolution was "in the works" regarding the Tourism Board, which would be presented at the Council's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 15. We will all find out then what's to become of the Tourism Board.
COPYRIGHT 2022 CAROLE OSTERINK
Sounds like the council is coming for the tourism dollars. Stealing being easier than earning, it seems.ReplyDelete
the reality is that the current Council hates tourists. Should there be a board at all ? Hudson does not need a tourist board anyway.ReplyDelete
The Council ruled to kill Airbnbs, the first engine of tourism in the first place. What is the point ?
Bureaucracy in Hudson does more harm than good. The Tourism Board is not needed, or wanted by the thinking members of the community.
Why kill the golden goose ? Leave it alone.
It seems that the Tourism Board is a statutory creation, and thus it will take a statute rather than a mere resolution to kill it. One law of Newtonian physics is that when there is a pot of money, there then ensues a power struggle as to who is to control it.ReplyDelete
One other matter is how much money does the Tourism Board have left, and is it still getting a cut of the lodging tax?ReplyDelete
Originally, the Tourism Board got a percentage of the revenue from the lodging tax, up to $250,000 a year. That section of the law was repealed in March 2020. Now the Tourism Board only has what money is allocated to them in the budget or what they can get the Common Council to agree to give them from the fund balance. I believe the Tourism Board currently has $20,000, which is what remains from the $492,000 of lodging tax revenue amassed before the law was changed, and $30,000 allocated in the 2022 budget, for a total of $50,000.Delete
Hudson does not need a Tourism Board. Tourism takes care of itself and the businesses in Hudson who have promoted themselves all over Instagram and everywhere else take care of it. Look at the PR The Maker has engendered by many articles in an international group of Magazines. The antiques dealers in the past generated a ton of publicity for Hudson the same way. Tourism Boards don't help generate the same buzz.ReplyDelete
PS. I should have mentioned The Maker, the Basilic, the Opera House and others as local businesses, not-for-profits, promoting Hudson.ReplyDelete
It was a mistake. Do not fund it. Let it die. Bury it and give the money to the city for parks. Parks are good for tourists and locals.ReplyDelete
Scrap the Tourism Board. The last thing we need is an attempt to draw tourists to a town that already gets a massive amount of traffic, more than any other small town I can think of. I feel the same away about contrived "economic development." If you want people to come to your community and invest, there is a simple formula-- make it a nice place to live.ReplyDelete
Sure. That’s all it takes. After all, Ancram, a very nice place to live, is world famous for its tourism and attractiveness. Right?Delete
Things don’t just happen. They have to be managed if you want them to have legs. The problem with the Tourism Board is that is has been at the mercy of a couple of incompetents (mayor, council president) and manned by sycophants who shamelessly pad their friends’ pockets with taxpayer money.
Keep the Tourism Board, get rid of city government.
Having a "tourism board" reminds me of that stupid attempt to do a re-branding of the Hudson Opera House. It's important to recognize when to leave well enough alone.ReplyDelete
Seemed to me the whole thing was a classic bait and switch, like one of those utility "deals" that offers a low rate, then slams you with a huge increase once you are hooked in. The idea was to offer a tourism board and investment in tourism so the B&B and hotel owners would not throw a fit when the lodging tax was initiated. Once it was set up and the money rolling in, then the switch. Another example of the fairness and honesty in US business and government. What comes next to beat back tourism, more shootings and robberies?ReplyDelete
Not quite. The players weren't the same at all during the relevant time period. But the Tourism Board was proposed by the Hudson lodging association as a way to prime the pump as it were in marketing the city as a tourist destination, particularly in the off-season. And it was in the context of negotiating over the lodging tax itself and moving it through the Council. The lodging tax itself does not impact elasticity of demand for lodging as has been often shown -- so there was no real threat of a fit being thrown (by the lodging folks; the Council members didn't know what demand elasticity is for the most part so there was no hullabaloo). But the idea is a good one, I think, particularly if the Board can focus on off-season draws as originally intended.Delete
Actually, as noted above, the lodging tax authorization from the state only lasted for 3 years, and then needed to be renewed, which although readily granted by the state, nevertheless affords an opportunity to review the law. The idea was after the three year period to assess what the efficacy was of spending 250K+ on tourism promotion. My sense of the matter is that the efficacy whether due to the inherent economics, incompetence, corruption, whatever, proved disappointing. To the extent that is the case, Hudson diverting its revenues from the lodging tax to other purposes does not seem to me to have been unreasonable.Delete