Lodging tax collections seesaw up in June

Lodging tax collections in Grand Junction continue to seesaw with a slight increase in the June report following a year-over-year decline in May.

June collections of $127,951 were a tenth of a percent higher than collections reported in June 2010. May collections were 1.5 percent lower than May of last year. Collections were up in January and April, but declined in February and March.

Overall, reports for the first six months of the year indicate hotels and motels collected $469,967 from the 3 percent tax used to promote Grand Junction and lure more visitors to the Grand Valley. That’s a 0.5 percent increase over reports from the first six months of 2010.

The monthly reports reflect consumer spending from the previous month, so reports covering the first six months reflect lodging business from December through May. The busiest tourism months in Grand Junction usually occur in May through September, which is reflected in the lodging tax reports for June through October.

Heading into the busier spring and summer season, officials from the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau suggested 2011 could be a good year for tourism even during an economic downturn. That’s because some surveys indicated people would vacation closer to home this year. Most visitors to the Grand Valley come from Colorado, and Denver is a targeted area for advertising dollars spent by the VCB.

The number of Colorado residents attending the visitor center has increased 4.6 percent for the year, while the number of out-of-state visitors has dropped 5 percent. Meanwhile, the number of international visitors is up 14.5 percent compared to the same period in 2010. The increase in international travel could be attributed to a weak U.S. dollar compared to foreign currencies.

Use of the VCB Web site continues to increase with a 13.7 percent increase in visits for the first half of 2011 and a 19.9 percent increase in unique Internet visits compared to the same period in 2010.