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Supervisors move closer to creating tourism marketing district

San Luis Obispo County supervisors Tuesday took another step toward forming a countywide tourism marketing district.

Supervisors held a hearing on the formation of the district and the ability to collect a 1 percent assessment on the per-night rent charged by lodging businesses. If approved, the district would collect an estimated $2.8 million per year for five years, which would be spent on promoting the county as a tourist destination.

At Tuesday’s hearing, supervisors decided to have the assessment apply to all of the more than 1,000 lodging businesses in the county. Some business owners asked that vacation rentals and bed-and-breakfast inns be exempted.

“Government does not need to be involved in my private business,” said Roland Snow, who owns a three-room bed-and-breakfast inn near Paso Robles.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson was in favor of exempting those businesses. He said most of the vacation rentals in the county are located in Cambria and Cayucos, and they already have plenty of business.

The other supervisors disagreed, saying that the marketing district will benefit all businesses in the county.

“We really do need a strategy to compete with our neighboring counties,” said Supervisor Adam Hill.

Those hoteliers who oppose the formation of the district can file protests. A formal protest hearing is scheduled for April 7.

If businesses that collect more than half of the transient occupancy taxes protest, the district will not be formed. If approved, the district would be formed July 1.

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