New QC tourism leader sets goal of $10 million in hotel tax revenue

4 The Record

Getting people to come to the Quad Cities.

We’ve talked about the goals of the Chamber of Commerce’s mission of Q2030.

That’s focused on growing the number of people who live and work here.

There’s another focus to convince people to visit.

Tourism generates millions of dollars for the local economy, but there’s always a desire for more.

Several major events put on every year are signficant contributors.

There’s no debate on the value we see from the John Deere Classic.

It’s the only major sporting event in the Quad Cities.

The PGA Tour has stopped in the Quad Cities since 1971, when it was originally called the Quad Cities Open.

Thousands of people follow the golfers on the course every year.

Another staple in recent years is the Missouri Valley Conference’s Women’s Basketball Tournament.

It’s been at the TaxSlayer Center the last three years and will be here for a fourth year next month.

That draws teams and fans from the midwest who need places to eat and stay.
    
A third attraction we expect to see for a third year this year is Alternating Currents.

The summer festival in downtown Davenport grew tremendously in its second year.

It features live music, art and film among other things at more than a dozen venues over a long weekend.

Organizers have high hopes to make it a midwest version of South by Southwest in Texas.

We’re already seeing big results out of Bettendorf in the first year of business for the TBK Bank Sports Complex.
    
Mayor Bob Gallagher indicated in his state of the city address this week the facility generated $10 million for the local economy since it opened in May.

One way to analyze whether tourism is growing in a community is to look at the collection of hotel-motel taxes.

It’s a gauge of whether more people are staying overnight.

We got these numbers covering the last five years from Visit Quad Cities — that’s the new name of the organization we’ve known as the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.
    
It includes Davenport, Moline, Bettendorf, Rock Island and Rock Island County. Nothing for East Moline because the city just got its first hotels.
    
Tax revenue increased from almost $4.5 million in 2014 to more than $6 million last year.

That’s an increase of almost 37 percent in those five years.

We can’t downplay the significance of those events or the tax revenue, but there are challenges to maintain that growth.
    
President of Visit Quad Cities Dave Herrell joined 4 The Record for a conversation about tourism strategy.

Positive trend?

I gave a very brief overview of things, but those tax collections point to a postive trend.

We asked Herrell how satisfied he is with that.

Best case scenario

You can mention the Quad Cities to a lot of people out there and they will say, “Where’s that?”

It’s not Hawaii, Las Vegas, New York.

Herrell talked about how much more tourism can realistically grow for this area.
    
Growth

This is a very competitive thing.

Herell discussed what the biggest challenges to attracting more events to achieve  that growth.

Watch the full conversation in the video above.
 

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