Tourism revenue jumps 34.4 percent

By Carlie Kollath / NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo’s tourism tax revenues grew 34.4 percent in May, with officials on Monday citing a healthy month of events that led to the boost.
The city in May received $294,697 in revenues from a 2 percent tax on hotels, motels and restaurants. The figure is 34.4 percent more than in May 2009.
The numbers, reported at the Tupelo Convention & Visitor Bureau’s monthly board meeting, are recorded in the month they are received from the state. For example, money received in July is from taxes collected in May.
Stephanie Moody-Coomer, the CVB’s marketing director, said much of the boost came from the many events in May, such as the Tupelo Film Festival, the 39th Annual Cellular South GumTree Festival, the Dudie Burger Festival, the ZZ Top concert at the BancorpSouth Arena, the Tupelo Garden Club’s home and garden tour and a number of athletic events and conferences hosted in town.
Neal McCoy, executive director and chairman of the CVB, said that while he was excited about the big growth in May, the figures “provide just a snapshot,” especially since they are compared to May 2009.
The May 2009 numbers were down 19.57 percent compared to the May 2008 figures.
McCoy said he doesn’t expect another large jump with June sales tax revenues, namely because the month didn’t have as many events as May had.
With the 34.4 percent monthly increase, the annual average growth now is 3.37 percent. The CVB based its budget on a 3 percent increase.
The CVB is basing its proposed fiscal year 2011 budget on a 1 percent rate of growth. The board has not voted on the budget, and McCoy said he plans to hold off on that vote until the city indicates if it will give personnel pay raises next year.
Along with the financials, the CVB board also elected two new officers.
Jeff Snyder, the Community Development Foundation representative and the current vice chairman, was elected again for the vice chairman position.
Chauncey Godwin, the representative from the Tupelo Restaurant Association, was elected the secretary.
McCoy is the chairman, a required position included in his role as executive director.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.