DALLAS — Dallas City Manager Greg Ellis recommended the city keep all the transient lodging tax money used for events and tourism promotion.
A discussion regarding the use of the TLT funding is on the Dallas City Council’s Tuesday meeting agenda.
The council did not vote on the proposal Tuesday, but deferred decision until the city's budget process this spring.
Currently, the city contracts with the Dallas Area Visitors Center for tourism and marketing promotion, and gives the organization money collected from hotel and motel taxes (TLT) to perform the task. About $95,000 for marketing and tourism was collected in 2018.
TLT funding can be used for two purposes: event organization and tourism promotion. The visitors center contract for event coordination expired in December 2018, and the city took over that role.
Ellis’ recommendation will create a new marketing and advertising director, and a tourism kiosk located in City Hall, 187 SE Court St.
The city's budget committee will review the proposal and decide whether to hire and marketing and advertising director, Ellis said.
“The marketing of Dallas as a tourist destination has seen less and less investment due to the high overhead of the visitors center wage structure, facilities and administrative costs,” wrote Economic Development Director AJ Foscoli in a memo to the council. “The less-than-efficient allocation of the TLT dollars that city of Dallas receives on a quarterly basis calls for a rethinking in how it is used for the benefit of this community.”
The memo was part of the council meeting agenda and packet sent out to councilors on Friday afternoon.
Foscoli wrote in the memo, approved by Ellis, that keeping the money would enable the city to spend more on direct marketing and advertising of Dallas.
The memo states that Jeremy Teal, the executive assistant to Ellis, would create marketing materials for the city. He would work with recreation and events coordinator Sheila Pierce, who is now organizing annual events such Summerfest.
“As most of you are amply familiar with Jeremy Teal’s expertise in visual graphics, there’s no need to go over all of the numerous flyers, posters, website images, videos and pamphlets that he has created,” Foscoli wrote. “… Unleashing Mr. Teal’s creativity and prowess to work at developing marketing and advertising materials will help this community by establishing a seamless mechanism by which our recreation and event coordinator will produce events, and Mr. Teal will market and promote them.”
JD Shinn, the executive director of the visitors center, said he learned of the recommendation and discussion last week. The organization would lose roughly $95,000 if the council agrees to the recommendation.
“It is on the agenda for the (visitors center) board to consider when we meet on Thursday,” Shinn said. “We will discuss plans for how to move forward hinging on the (council’s) discussion (Tuesday) as well as the budget’s finalization in the coming months.”