Soaring room tax revenue
Room tax revenues and effective marketing strategies combined last year to produce for the Eagle River area what might be the largest number of visitors in tourism history, an enormous feat with the challenging economic conditions that exist today.
According to the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, room tax collections rose more than 11% last year to a record $308,590. The tax is 4.5% of actual room rates paid.
Conrad Heeg, the chamber’s executive director, said there’s no doubt that the double-digit tax revenue growth equates to more units rented and more visitors lodging in the city of Eagle River and the surrounding towns of Lincoln and Washington.
Exactly how the credit for that success should be apportioned isn’t well defined, but it’s likely that effective marketing had a lot to do with it — whether the money promoted the natural resources and outdoor recreation that is so abundant here, or the numerous special events that draw people to the Eagle River area.
That’s why we’ve promoted the establishment of room taxes throughout the North Woods, so that chambers and communities have extra marketing funds that aren’t a burden of area businesses or local units of government. And we believe most visitors are accustomed to paying room taxes, so the taxes shouldn’t deter people from staying here.
Besides the municipalities mentioned, a room tax is collected in the towns of Three Lakes, St. Germain, Arbor Vitae, Boulder Junction, Manitowish Waters, Minocqua, Woodruff and Presque Isle. The towns of Phelps and Land O’ Lakes are currently in the talking stages on a room tax.
Eagle River should be called the Event City of Northern Wisconsin, for no other community organizes more events or draws more people to those events. Heeg, his team of workers and hundreds of civic-minded volunteers make it happen year after year. Their work is complimented by other organizations that sponsor Klondike Days, Fishing Has No Boundaries, fishing tournaments and numerous hockey-related events.
The amazing part is that even in tough economic times, aggressive marketing and hard work can pay big dividends.
Report relaxes fears
A preliminary analysis of the effects of using herbicide to treat Eurasian water milfoil in the Eagle River Chain shows the native aquatic plant community remains healthy, according to ecologists working with the Unified Eagle River Chain of Lakes Commission.
The report lays to rest fears that the aquatic herbicide would wipe out desirable vegetation, leaving lakes void of the aquatics that protect and support a diverse fishery.
However, what might have been altered is the abundance of some native plants. It will take years to know what impacts might be felt from losing some beds of large-leaf pondweed, a native plant used by fish.
Behind the editorial ‘we’Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
|Tuesday, April 23, 2013 2:10 PM|