NEWARK – Hotels in the area have bounced back from the 2020 financial nightmare created by COVID with near-normal financial performance this year.
The Licking County 3% lodging tax, which brings in about $ 390,000 a year to Explore Licking County, only raised $ 261,000 in 2020. In the 10 months of 2021, however, all 21 hotels County donated $ 373,000 to the local visitors’ office.
Dan Moder, director of Explore Licking County, said US Travel & Tourism and others predicted that the hotel industry may not return to normal until 2025. Instead, the performance of the Licking Hotel County this year will apparently make the impact of COVID a year-long phenomenon that has declined business 33%.
“We’re still in a pandemic, so it’s encouraging,” Moder said of the 2021 collections. “It has grown at a faster rate than expected. The difference between the two (years) is quite large. Growth is on the move.
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“Licking County hotels have really been rock stars through it all, and there’s consumer confidence around that. The revenues are pretty solid right now, and we’re a little shocked about that. We are seeing more traffic moving for sure. We hope that (the COVID slowdown) is beyond us. “
Explore Licking County, which uses resort tax money for its operating budget, salaries and overhead costs, temporarily laid off staff in 2020 due to the dramatic drop in income. Explore Licking County used the proceeds to raise awareness of the county to a public worried about the pandemic and anxious to get back to normalcy.
Newark, which receives an additional 3% of the city’s five hotels, averages around $ 200,000 a year. In 2020, collections were only $ 111,614, but rebounded to $ 218,883 this year through October 31.
The city recently approved disbursements of $ 133,000 of its resort tax money to nine city entities. The largest beneficiary was Newark Development Partners for The Arcade restoration project. Canal Market District, Reese Ice Arena, Midland Theater, The Works, 31 West, Don Edwards Park, Newark High School and Newark Catholic High School also received funding.
Newark’s director of services Dave Rhodes said there was no law dictating how the city spends money.
“We have established a policy for the resort tax money,” Rhodes said. “Does this create overnight stays and expenses in the community, like eating out?” There are no restrictions on this, other than the settings we set. We’re trying to spend as much as we can, but we’ve taken a significant plunge with COVID. “
Rhodes said Newark Catholic hosted a wrestling tournament that brought together 25 schools. White Field, Newark’s high school football stadium, recently hosted 8,000 out-of-town fans for a high school playoff game, he said.
Moder said traditional sports such as baseball, hockey and soccer attract people from outside the region to spend their money here.
“Youth hockey is really strong,” Moder said. “Youth sports are always kind of a thing.”
The Newark Area Soccer Association, which has traditionally received resort tax funds because its tournaments attract large numbers of fans, received nothing this year. NASA has received $ 20,000 or $ 30,000 in previous years, and has been considered for $ 10,000 this year.
City Councilor Doug Marmie, a member of the city’s hotel tax committee, suggested the city consider suspending a contribution this year to NASA, which had not yet applied for funds this year.
“NASA, they didn’t run tournaments,” Marmie said. “So I don’t know how much we want to continue. We cover a lot of their expenses and they don’t really generate tourist taxes anymore.”
Keith Loughlin, president of the Newark Area Soccer Association, said NASA has hosted tournaments this year and planned to apply for funds in December, when it had already made requests.
NASA hosted the Buckeye Cup in May and the Hopewell Cup in October of this year, Loughlin said. The only scheduled tournament he canceled was in the spring of 2020 when everything was closed and the Buckeye Cup was not allowed to be played.
Loughlin said he was surprised city officials thought NASA canceled all tournaments because the events of May and October were highly visible due to traffic jams on North 21st Street.
“This fund helped us create the Buckeye Cup and the Hopewell Cup and we hope to start another,” Loughlin said. “Normally we apply in December and we didn’t do it last year. We bring a lot of people. This (2020 cancellation) was obviously not our fault.”
Twitter: @ kmallett1958
Newark Bed Tax Income
Here are the hotel tax funds the City of Newark has received each year for the past few years: The temporary closure and renovation of Cherry Valley Hotel reduced the 2019 total, and COVID significantly reduced 2020 revenue.
2016: $ 229,997
2017: $ 199,727
2018: $ 213,047
2019: $ 169,034
2020: $ 111,614
2021: $ 218,883 (until October 31)
Newark Bed Tax Disbursements
Here are the city of Newark’s hotel tax disbursements for 2021, as approved by the city’s hotel tax committee on November 15. A disbursement of $ 5,000 was made in August to the Licking County Foundation for the restoration of the Louise Sullivan building in downtown Newark.
Arcade-Newark development partners: $ 50,000
Canal market district: $ 20,000
Lou & Gib Arena: $ 20,000
Midland Theater: $ 10,000
Work: $ 10,000
31 West: $ 10,000
Don Edwards Park: $ 7,000
Newark High School Sports Boosters: $ 3,000
Newark Catholic Athletic Association: $ 3,000
Total disbursements: $ 133,000