Klamath County ordinance clears way for tourism improvement areas

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Klamath County is one step closer to forming a ‘Tourism Improvement Area’.

That effort could raise motel rates in the area.

The proposal would boost tourism funding through new motel fees.

Klamath County Commissioners passed an ordinance Tuesday that would enable motels to collect those fees.

“It simply clarifies county law to allow formation of a tourism improvement area.”  Explains Discover Klamath Director, Jim Chadderdon.  “Should the lodging community come together and desire to establish that.”

Not all of the local motel owners are behind the concept.

“This has wording in it that’s detrimental to our industry.”  Counters Victoria Haley, representing the Pacific Northwest Hotel Management group.  “There’s 16 hotels representing over 50% of the rooms in this county that are opposing this.”

Despite the opposition, the commissioners voted 2 to 1 in favor of the ordinance.

“I hate to be the county commissioner that says, ‘We need to get you guys together and do this’.”   Noted Commissioner Donnie Boyd during Tuesday’s hearing.  “But I don’t think without passing the ordinance, I don’t think there’s any way to do that.”

Chadderdon says he’s pleased with the vote.  “I’m very happy the commissioners voted to approve the enabling ordinance.  We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we look forward to getting started.”

It’s estimated that a 3 percent increase in motel fees would generate about $600,000 a year for tourism promotion to Discover Klamath.

No specific percentage recommendations have yet been made.

Tourism officials hope to begin discussing the issue with motel owners over the next few months.


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