The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

August 13, 2013

Athens lodging tax nearly doubled since 2006

ATHENS — Athens’ outgoing tourism president says tourism has grown steadily during her 7 1/2-year tenure, and there is more on the way.

But, with the candor of an exiting employee, she told City Council members Monday the city needs more hotel space as well as a civic center with theater and arena to lure and retain concerts, conferences and other events.

Jeanette Dunnavant Jones, president of the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association, who will retire Aug. 31, gave City Council members an overview of her time at the helm during a work session Monday.

She said the $1-a-night bed fee has nearly doubled the amount of lodging tax the city of Athens is collecting compared to 2006.

That year, Jones said, the city’s lodging tax was generating about $350,000 a year.

“As our local tourism industry has grown, lodging tax has increased to approximately $650,000 this year,” she said.

(Lodging tax is a tax paid on overnight stays at hotels and motels. Lodging operators collect it from overnight guests and remit it to the city.)

“It is evident that our tourism traffic is growing by the new hotels being built at Exit 351 (of Interstate 65),” Jones said. “Since 2006, the Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn have been built. That is a sign of progress. Hotel owners only build where they know the additional beds are needed.”

Downtown hotel needed

Jones said she tried, unsuccessfully, to get a developer to build a hotel where the QuadPlex is located off Hobbs Street. (The QuadPlex was once an Athens State University dormitory.)

“When the QuadPlex was recently to be auctioned,” Jones said. “I called Bob Kumar (managing partner at Omega Hotel Group) and asked him to purchase that land and build a nice downtown hotel. He said his investors didn’t believe we had enough visitors downtown to show a profit on their investment. I explained the tourism board’s vision to him and how our sports program and downtown events will bring more travelers off Interstate 65 at Exit 354. But, he wouldn’t change his mind.”

Text Only
Local News


Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

     View Results
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee