County Puts More Funding Toward Tourist, Conference Promotion

The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday agreed to devote more funding to promotion for tourists and business conferences, what some said was a necessary measure with a planned casino in Prince George’s County.

The bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park, raises the amount of hotel/motel tax collected by the county and directed to its Conference and Visitors Bureau from 3.5 to 7 percent.

Floreen said she was motivated by regional competition. During a public hearing on the bill, the Council learned that Montgomery County spends less on promotion than any other local jurisdiction except Arlington County.

The bill is projected to provide an additional $630,000 for the County Visitors Bureau, the nonprofit of five full-time staff members who promote facilities such as The Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane) and the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center (5701 Marinelli Rd.).

On her blog, Floreen wrote, “In looking ahead, we must be ready to more aggressively compete for tourism and conventions with Prince George’s County and other Maryland jurisdictions that have, or will have, casinos.”

MGM Resorts is planning a Las Vegas-style casino that officials there hope will attract tourists and conventions to National Harbor.

The bill passed with an 8-1 vote. Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Silver Spring, was the lone member against the measure.

Flickr photo by Bill in DC


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