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Burbank tourists facing higher hotel bills to cover new 1% assessment

July 20, 2011 |  8:58 am


Visitors to Burbank may have to pay a little more to stay overnight as the city implements a new assessment on larger hotels to help pay for a tourism district.

The assessment is expected to generate $2.6 million over five years to market and promote local hotels to attract more visitors, who will theoretically patronize local businesses and boost sales tax revenues, officials told the Burbank Leader.

As part of the tourism district, local hotels will be assessed 1% of their monthly revenues — a cost that is usually passed along to guests, said Mary Hamzoian, economic development manager for Burbank.

"This is not a tax. It's an assessment," Hamzoian stressed.

The City Council approved the creation of the district in a 4-1 vote last week. Councilman David Gordon dissented, saying he was concerned that raising prices in a sluggish economy is a bad idea.

Burbank officials said they weren't concerned with the affect of higher hotel rates on tourism because such assessments are already prevalent in California, with 60 cities already having similar districts and 13 more in the process of forming them.

Hotel assessments generate $11.5 million a year in Los Angeles, $9.5 million in Anaheim and $7.6 million in Palm Springs and its surrounding cities, according to a city report.

In Burbank there are 15 hotels with 25 rooms or more. Representatives from nine of those hotels have signed petitions supporting the district and Hamzoian said she expected two more — Extended Stay of America and Portofino Olive Manor — to come aboard before the Aug. 30 deadline.

Robert Tsay, general manager of the Ramada Burbank, said the additional marketing would "help drive up demand for hotel rooms in the city."

The 1% assessment will be added to each guest's final bill, he said.


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-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Photo: The Burbank Marriott will be subject to the new assessment, which will pay for a campaign to market and promote local hotels. Credit: Tim Berger / Times Community News