Hotel guests staying in Jefferson Parish will pay slightly more for their visit starting Sept. 1, when parish hotels begin charging an additional 1 percent surcharge on room rates. The parish's hotel association recently approved the assessment, which is expected to generate $860,000 a year for tourism marketing initiatives.
"This is an assessment that our members have voluntarily voted to approve and enact and it is to broaden our marketing and promotion efforts of Jefferson Parish as a destination," said Violet Peters, Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau president. "So it is really an investment in growing that industry."
The surcharge will be added to the existing occupancy tax rate from the parish's 31 hotels; 12.75 percent on the west bank and 13.75 percent on the east bank. The bureau receives 1 percent of the revenue generated by the occupancy tax, about $1.3 million, Peters said.
Peters said revenue from the new assessment will help expand marketing efforts to reach more "leisure" travelers, and make Jefferson's tourism spending more competitive with others in similar markets, such as Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Shreveport.
"They're outspending us 3-to-1. So we're looking at how can we grow our marketing promotion efforts which would in turn grow the economic impact that tourism has in our region," Peters said.
"Tourism in Jefferson Parish is $1.1 billion industry as far as the domestic visitor, and helps account for nearly 10,000 jobs within Jefferson Parish only. So it's very strong," she said.
The referendum on the assessment was approved with more than 90 percent of the hotel owners and administrators approving the measure, Peters said. Two-thirds approval was needed for the surcharge to be added.