Dave Druker | 10th Street
In 2008 the voters of Del Mar approved an increase to the Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT/Hotel Tax) up to 14% - in line with the City of San Diego. Rather than city collecting the full increase, the City Council allowed the 5 hotels in Del Mar to create a Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) that authorized the collection of one percent per room to promote Del Mar. This assessment began to be collected in 2011 but very little has been accomplished to date.
On an annual basis the TBID is required to present to the Council a report on their activities, income and expenses. A report was given to the Council on Monday, June 3. For fiscal year 2013 income is projected to be $169,069.75. The expenditures will be $125,111.63 for Promotion and Special Events, $16,906.98 for Commercial Zone improvements, $16,906.98 for DMVA Downtown Programs, $8,453.49 for Administration and $1,690.70 for the City of Del Mar to process the funds. The budget is relatively the same as 2012.
The Commercial Zone improvement calls for lighting along the west side of Camino del Mar from the Indigo Hotel to 15th street. The TBID has set up a website www.dreamdelmar.com. This site will allow visitors one place to make reservations at any hotel in Del Mar and promotes Del Mar as a destination for families and couples to vacation. The TBID has engaged McCue Marketing to provide website design and marketing.
There are numerous questions that this report raises. First, will the modest amount of money raised have much impact? By comparison, Carlsbad spends over $1 million on tourism marketing, Coronado over $500,000, and Oceanside a little less than $500,000. Would a seasonal campaign be better to raise occupancy during the lean winter months? Would a theme of spending time in DM as at a health retreat be a way to differentiate Del Mar? Would the city have been able to contract out for a few well-placed ads in the three years it has taken to get this effort off the ground? Finally, would the money be better spent by the City on implementing the improvements called for in the Camino Del Mar Streetscape Plan?