The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 3, 2014

Feasibility study reveals what tourism officials must do to attract more to Clinton

CLINTON — After rebounding from the loss of Clinton’s busiest hotel, Clinton tourism officials know who is staying in the city’s hotels and who they need to spend more time attracting.

A feasibility study performed this summer by an independent consultant showed the city has all the hotels it needs to serve travelers that frequent Clinton, a majority of whom are business customers. The study also gave the Clinton Convention and Visitors Bureau a directive to try and tap into the leisure travelers that visit Clinton much less.

“We have such a vast variety of visitors and guests, it’s important that we cater to their different needs. Without hotels, we wouldn’t have much tourism. Without tourism, we don’t capture dollars from outside our community,” CVB Director Carrie Donaire said. “It is important to spend locally to stimulate the Clinton area economy, but it is also important to attract money from outside our community to create jobs here in the tourism sector.”

Some of the money generated by local hotels goes into city coffers while the remainder funds Vision Iowa projects and the CVB. The city receives the 7 percent tax on hotel and motel stays, which is the third highest revenue source to the city’s general fund. Of the money generated, the CVB receives 53.5 percent. The remaining 47.5 percent is broken down so 28.5 percent goes toward Vision Iowa projects and 18 percent actually makes it to the city’s general fund.

When Ashford University purchased the Best Western Frontier Inn and converted it to dorms in 2010, it eliminated more than 100 rooms and banquet space. The Frontier Inn was the primary meeting community meeting space during its tenure, the feasibility study noted.

In turn, the hotel/motel tax revenue that year dropped by nearly $100,000, from around $350,000 to $250,000.

“Our whole goal should be not to give those dollars to the Quad-Cities or other communities” City Administrator Jessica Kinser said. “We should have the hotels available here.”

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