Tupelo's tourism dollars grow in 2011

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Convention amp& Visitors Bureau is poised to end its fiscal year on a financial upswing, under budget and with extra revenue.
Kim Hanna, the city clerk, said the bureau ended the year with $429,022 in profit, as of Sept. 30, the last day of its fiscal year. The CVB had budgeted to dip into savings for about $293,200, but it didn’t have to.
She said there will be adjustments in the coming weeks, but the overall numbers are positive.
“We’ve had a really good year,” Hanna said.
The CVB, as of Sept. 30, had a savings fund balance of $2.5 million.
The tourism tax revenues also were extremely encouraging. The revenues come from a 2 percent tax on hotels, motels and restaurants in Tupelo. The results are delayed two months.
For July, Tupelo recorded an 18 percent jump from the prior-year period. It’s the biggest increase for the entire fiscal year.
The CVB recorded tourism revenues of $334,232 for July 2011, up from $283,235 in July 2010.
The figures helped bumped up Tupelo’s annual revenues even more. The CVB ended the fiscal year with an average 5.8 percent increase in tourism sales tax revenues.
It collected $3,423,821 in fiscal 2011. In comparison, the CVB in fiscal year 2010 collected $3,236,183, which was a 2.82 percent increase from the prior year.
Neal McCoy, executive director of the CVB, praised the numbers but also cautioned his board.
“So much of this is driven by the Toyota startup, especially hotel rooms,” he said.
The Toyota plant near Blue Springs is scheduled to start production this month.