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Carson tourism officials brace for 22% drop in room tax revenues

Anne Knowles

aknowles@nevadaappeal.com

David Peterson, executive director of the Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority.
Courtesy photo

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority is expecting a 22 percent drop in Carson City room tax revenues for fiscal year 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The year-end projection of $16.3 million is slightly better than the authority forecast a month ago, when it anticipated a 26.5 percent drop to $15.3 million. The fiscal year ends June 30.

Still, tourism is not expected to turn around any time soon.

David Peterson, executive director of the authority, told the CCCTA board on Monday, that the office doesn’t expect to see positive growth until March 2021, with double-digit drops each month through the end of this calendar year.

The latest room tax data is for March, when the state of emergency went into effect halfway through the month. Collections were down 43.7 percent to $813,140. Peterson said he would bring numbers for April, the first full month of the shutdown, to the board’s next meeting in July.

As has been the case across Northern Nevada, most Carson City-area summer events that bring in tourists have been canceled while some are on hold.

Still tentatively scheduled are the Downtown Revival Car Show on July 11, the AWS World Series July 16-19, and the Carson City Shootout July 23-26. All are planned with social distancing and other safety restrictions, said James Salanoa, events manager.

Two September events, the Motor Officer Challenge and the Silver State Art Festival, are also still planned. And a new event, the Bike Monkey bike race, has been canceled for 2020 and moved to 2021 through 2023.

As a result, the agency is refocusing its marketing efforts on attracting the so-called “drive market,” people within a 400-mile radius who would drive rather than fly to Carson City, and on the fact the city is the seat of state government and features abundant outdoor recreation.

“We are the capital and no one else can offer that,” said Lydia Bruegge, marketing manager.

The board agreed on the strategy.

“I absolutely think we’re on the right track with outdoors,” said Michael Jones, chair. “It’s an opportunity for people who are tired of being cooped up.”

The board also approved the extension into 2022 of contracts with KPS3 and Computer Artistry for public relations, marketing and content development.


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