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Tourism Board Seeking Proposals

Looking for new events to fund

September 30, 2011, 2:00 pm
By Wren Abbot

 The city of Santa Fe's Occupancy Tax Advisory Board wants to get the word out to Santa Feans sitting on a good idea for an event.

"If you have an idea, come and make a presentation—we're not always going to say yes, but we'll see what we can do," OTAB member Jon Hendry said at the board's regular meeting yesterday.

OTAB decides how to spend about $70,000 per year in tax derived from hotel bookings in an effort to generate more tourism in the city. But Hendry said at yesterday's meeting that he had "heartburn" over what OTAB decided to fund last year. He tells SFR that the money is better spent helping to get new projects off the ground than on well-established events that have taken place in Santa Fe for many years.

"I think the purpose of OTAB should be to put seed money in for events—maybe put a limitation in there for like three years and then move on," Hendry says. "If it works it should be able to sustain itself; if it doesn't, then you come up with another event. There's some things that have come back to us year after year, and I don't like that. But nobody’s out there creating new events."

At the meeting Hendry mentioned that travelers in their 30s and 40s like to go to specific events, rather than general destinations where they'll take in whatever happens to be going on at the time. To attract them, it's important to have as many such events as possible, like the Wine and Chile Fiesta and many other annual happenings that have been very successful.

Ideally, the city would have an enterprise fund with money to help put on local events as well, Hendry says. He would like to see OTAB fund about five new events a year for $10,000 or $20,000 each and guarantee them funding for three years. If one of the five took off, the initiative would be well worth the investment.

"We have the farmers market space sitting over there—to me we should have that full all winter with these art markets and things," Hendry says. "We should have events to bring people to all the time."

 

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