The Cambrian

San Luis Obispo County considers forming tourism marketing district

San Luis Obispo County supervisors are to hold the first of two hearings Tuesday, March 10, about forming a countywide tourism marketing district.

A 1-percent assessment nightly per occupied tourist room rented overnight would go toward promoting visits to the county, and making those visits longer. 

The new assessment would be in addition to improvement-district and other taxes already levied in individual cities and certain unincorporated areas of the county, including Cambria and San Simeon.

The supervisors meet at 9 a.m. in the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo. 

A second hearing will be held April 7. 

Businesses subjected to the assessment can lodge a protest against it at the hearings.

The countywide tourism-marketing district concept is based on successful districts in most of the cities and some unincorporated areas of the county, according to officials of Visit San Luis Obispo County.

While many lodging business owners appear to favor the countywide proposal, some operators of smaller bed-and-breakfast inns and vacation rentals say they wonder whether  the added tax really will help their businesses. 

The Cambrian spoke to two who didn’t want to be identified, but said the added assessment wouldn’t benefit them as much as it would larger hotels and motels.

They said the district could end up hurting them by having yet another tax added to the cost per room, which would make their operations less competitive.

However, advocates say the new district would help promote the county and make it more competitive with adjoining markets of Santa Barbara and Monterey counties, which have larger advertising and marketing budgets.