Marketing tax vital for Aspen tourism |

Marketing tax vital for Aspen tourism

The real estate market, the engine that’s fueled the Aspen economy in recent years, is not what it used to be. And before property values went into another stratosphere, Aspen was better known as a resort town. It still is.

The 1 percent marketing tax, or Referendum 2A, is estimated to bring in $1.1 million annually, and would help get out the message that yes, we’re still here, the skiing is still world class, and the spring, summer and autumn seasons are still glorious with ample outdoor and cultural activities.

It’s expected that the city would provide ACRA with the marketing funds to promote Aspen and fund special events.

For the Aspen visitor, the marketing tax is a small price to pay. For every $100 spent on a guest room, the marketing tax would add one more dollar to the room bill. That would be added to the current bed tax of 10 percent, increasing it to 11 percent. By comparison, Snowmass Village’s tourist tax is 12.8 percent; Vail’s is 9.8 percent; and Telluride’s is 12.4 percent.

We do take exception to some of the campaign rhetoric that Aspen residents wouldn’t have to pay the tax, and it would only be paid by tourists. While that’s true, it rings disingenuous, especially when we’re referring to the very guests who keep the resort economy humming along.

That said, the marketing tax would give Aspen an edge over some resorts, and create a level playing field with others. It’s essential for Aspen to be competitive, especially during this economic slump.

For the sake of the future of tourism in Aspen, this is an opportunity voters cannot squander. On Nov. 2, vote “yes” on Referendum 2A.

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