Summer tourism swings into high gear, lodging tax reports mixed bag

As the summer tourism season swings into high gear, lodging tax reports reflect something of a mixed bag for the hospitality industry in the Grand Valley so far this year.

Lodging tax revenues reported in May were down from the same month last year. But total collections reported for January through May remain up slightly compared to the same span in 2011.

According to the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureua, $87,015 in lodging tax revenues were reported in May. That’s down 1.5 percent from May 2010.

A total of $342,016 in lodging tax revenues were reported for the first five months of this year, up 0.7 percent from a similar period in 2010.

Lodging tax revenues increased on a year-over-year basis in January and April, but declined in February, March and May.

Because reports are filed a month after customers pay the lodging tax at hotels and motels, each report reflects business from the previous month.

Early this year, officials from VCB suggested 2011 could be a good year for lodging tax revenues if the Grand Valley realized an increase in visitors taking vacations closer to home. After all, most visitors come from Colorado to begin with and Denver is a targeted area for advertising dollars spent by the VCB.

But with gasoline and food prices on the rise and a potential decline in visitors from outside of the state, general predictions were more difficult than they’d been prior to the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.

The busiest tourism months in Grand Junction are usually from May to September, which is reflected in the June to October reports.

May included the annual Art and Jazz Festival and beginning of the Junior College Baseball World Series. June features the beginning of the Farmer’s Market, which runs through September, as well as the four-day Country Jam Music Festival. July brings the Mesa County Fair and a new event this year — the Lavender Festival in Palisade. August includes the Palisade Peach Festival and Rock Jam. September is the month most packed with large events, including the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade, Fruita Fall Festival, Colorado Pork and Hops Festival and Colorado Professional Rodeo Association Finals.