Lodging Association votes down LART-increase idea

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The Pikes Peak Lodging Association board of directors has voted unanimously to oppose any increase in the Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax, or LART.

“We do not believe that the business climate is receptive to any type of increase,” Steve Ducoff, president of the PPLA, said in a press release.

“More importantly, an increase in the LART is unfair as it would single out one industry for an increase.”

Maintaining an appropriate LART level is important and vital to the success and growth of the hospitality industry, Ducoff said.

Why take the vote, and why now?

Well, the board wasn’t saying, though regular readers of this newspaper will recall that I wrote a piece in October exploring the possibility of raising the tax. The catalyst for that story: the arrival in January of a new CEO for the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Manitou parking update

This summer I reported about officials’ plans to resolve parking woes in the city of Manitou Springs.

That’s when Manitou’s Economic Development Committee had hired Casey Jones of Place and Plexus Consulting Inc. in Longmont, Colo., as a contractor and consultant to make recommendations to the Parking Authority Board.

Now some of those recommendations are being implemented.

Manitou’s city council will hold a special meeting, open to the public, to discuss a proposed 2011 parking permit program at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30.

The plan for issuing parking permits was developed by the Manitou Springs Metropolitan Parking District and the Parking Advisory Board.

“We are very encouraged that this summer’s tourist season was exceptionally strong, and we attribute part of those results to the changes in permit policy made this year that allowed more tourists to find paid parking,” said Dave Symonds, board president.

Here are some of the items from the proposed 2011 parking permit program.

Permits will be sold on a prorated basis and year-round, but not on a month-to-month basis.

Evening permits will be available for any lot, excluding the Prospect Lot, and will allow for parking between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. the next day.

“Smart Cards” will be offered for permit holders or Metro District members, and will be offered at half their face value. A full-price $25 Smart Card will be available for the general public.

Seasonal permits will be available for the Canon and Wichita lots, as well.

2011 CVB board elected

The CVB recently held elections for its 2011 board members. The following were elected:

John Washko, vice president of sales and marketing at The Broadmoor, chair of hotel and lodging for the CVB; Allen Paty, general manager, Antlers Hilton, vice chair of hotel and lodging for the CVB; Gisela Shanahan, assistant director of aviation, finance/administration, for the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, treasurer and transportation, CVB; Dorian Ciolek, general manager, Comfort Inn South, secretary and hotel and lodging, CVB; Jim Breeden, general manager, Colorado Springs Marriott, hotel and lodging, CVB; Susan Edmondson, executive director, Bee Vradenburg Foundation, general business, CVB; Dave Harris, general manager, Pikes Peak Ghost Town Museum, general business, CVB; Alicia McConnell, director of athlete services and programs, United States Olympic Committee, general business, CVB; and Dave Palenchar, senior VP of, programs, El Pomar Foundation, general business, CVB.

International travel

During the first eight months of 2010, 40.2 million international visitors traveled to the United States — a 12-percent increase over the same period last year. In the same time period, visitors spent $88.2 billion — a 10-percent increase over 2009.

August marked the 11th consecutive month of increases in U.S. arrivals, and the eighth consecutive month of growth in U.S. travel and tourism-related exports, according to the Department of Commerce.

Black Friday Manitou style

Manitou Springs, known to many as the eclectic tourist town nestled at the base of Pikes Peak, hopes to attract local and tourist business today, Black Friday, with live music, hot chocolate and cider, fireworks and Santa Claus riding on a fire engine, lighting the trees up and down Manitou Avenue.

The free and family-oriented event begins at 5 p.m. today at the town clock in the center of Manitou.

Between Black Friday and the end of February, shoppers who have $75 worth of receipts from Manitou businesses located within the 80829 Zip code can present the receipts to the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce to receive a voucher for a free companion lift ticket from Monarch Mountain Ski Resort.

Rebecca Tonn can be reached at rebecca.tonn@csbj.com or 719-329-5229. Friend her on Facebook.