Board seeks to define tourism for members
by Cindy Glasson Hot Springs Travel and Tourism learned their recent lodging tax deposits are a bit down from last year at this time, but they are still about nine-percent above average overall. At Tuesday’s meeting they discussed that the most recent deposits actually reflect activity from two months ago and September was about the time most of the hail damage repair folks were leaving town, opening up hotel rooms that had previously been full all over town. The only expenditure on the books this month was an $11,000 payment to the Wyoming Official Travel Journal for a full page ad in their magazine. In a discussion regarding the definition of tourism and how it would work into proposed changes to the operating agreement with the Joint Powers Board, it was brought up that using the terms primary or principal business could possibly eliminate Wyoming Whiskey as a possible member of the board since their primary or principal business is selling whiskey, not tourism. Members of the board talked about the distillery having a tasting room and plans for a new gift shop. While not primarily a tourist destination right now, those items could feasibly be considered tourism based, even though they would also cater to locals. On first reading the board agreed to change the verbiage to read, “Membership. Where the Joint powers Agreement refers to board members who are ‘representatives of the travel and tourism industry,’ this is interpreted to mean board members whose business primarily serves visitors to Hot Springs County, rather than residents of Hot Springs County.” As this is the first reading of the proposed change, the board has 30-days to review before making a final decision. It still may be amended at a later date. Hot Spring County may have the opportunity to participate in meetings here conducted by Wyoming Best Opportunity, probably sometime next spring or even in the fall. Participation in the meetings would include about 18 hours of time built into various seminars during a few days in town. The board would really like to see the community get involved in this process as it is geared toward creating a strategic marketing plan. The Thermopolis Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce is already on board with the plan. Travel and Tourism is putting up $6,900 of their money in order to bring the opportunity to the county. Keep an eye on Facebook as a new survey will be launched soon to get input on re-branding the community. Adbay will be setting the survey up and they have had some good, solid thoughts on what our community should look like. The survey will help to solidify what those changes will be. The board will not be holding a December meeting, as it would fall very close to the holidays. Instead, they will meet again on January 21.
November 21, 2019