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Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:00

Haywood records highest-ever room tax collections

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Haywood County experienced its best tourism year ever during the 2006-2007 fiscal year, according to lodging tax figures released by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority.

From July 2006 through June 2007, Haywood County accommodations collected more than $700,000 in occupancy tax — a 3 percent fee charged to guests who stay at a lodging facility within the county. That’s a 7 percent jump in occupancy tax revenue from the previous fiscal year and the most in Haywood County history.

Tourism finished the year strong in June, as occupancy tax collection climbed 11 percent that month when compared to June 2006. Three other months —A ugust, September and March — also experienced double-digit increases between 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.

“Our main goal is to attract overnight visitors to Haywood County,” said Scotty Medford Ellis, executive director of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. “Occupancy tax figures are essential in gauging our progress from year to year. And in the fiscal year that just ended, we’ve seen nothing but positive growth for tourism here.”

Since the beginning of the TDA’s marketing initative in the 2004-2005 fiscal year, occupancy tax dollars have risen a total of 14 percent.

In the 2006 calendar year, visitors to the county spent $111.06 million, a 7.3 percent increase from 2005, according to figures recently released by the North Carolina Division of Tourism. The report also stated that the travel and tourism industry generated $23.38 million in total payroll.

The TDA recently finished shooting its first television commercial, which is now in the final stages of production. A revamped, state-of-the-art Web site is also in the works. The airing of the commecial and launch of the site, coupled with the fall leaf-looking season, should foster continued success for tourism in Haywood County as a new fiscal year gets underway.

“We’ll continue our aggressive marketing and promotion campaign into 2007-2008,” Ellis said. “We expect the results to be more of the same—positive growth for Haywood County tourism.”

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