CVB reports growth for month, year amid slump

TUPELO – The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau bucked the trend this month and posted a 12.2 percent increase in sales tax revenues.
The bureau also went against the grain with its annual numbers, reporting Monday that it ended its fiscal year with a $60.4 million economic impact from conventions, trade shows, special events, weddings, reunions, sports and entertainment events.
That total represented a 17 percent increase from the $51.8 million posted in FY08.
At its board meeting Monday, the CVB – which is funded by a 2 percent tax on hotels, motels and restaurants often called the tourism tax – said sales tax revenues in July were $305,391, up 12.2 percent compared to July 2008.
The July numbers are reported in September because of a delay in processing at the state level.
The increase comes after four months of negative numbers, with March and May posting decreases of almost 20 percent.
‘Shining star’
Kim Hanna, the city’s interim chief financial officer, calculates the numbers and presents them at the CVB’s monthly board meetings. She said the most recent increase brings the CVB’s annual sales tax revenue growth up to nearly 1.2 percent for FY09, which ended Sept. 30.
“That’s fantastic with the economic times the way they are,” Hanna said. “With all the city funds, this is the bright, shining star in our reports.”
Yet the number is smaller than what the CVB is used to reporting. In fiscal year 2008, the CVB posted an annual tourism tax increase of 7 percent over FY07.
In FY07, revenue also grew nearly 7 percent.
Stephanie Moody-Coomer, the CVB’s marketing director, attributed some of the growth in July to three large baseball and softball tournaments, which had an estimated economic impact of more than $500,000.
The CVB also benefited in FY09 from a $10.6 million increase in trade shows, special events and sports. The economic impact from conventions, weddings, reunions and entertainment events fell about $2 million.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal