AAHOA, ORLA monitor city’s hotel tax revenue proposals

The city of Salem had planned to use the tax dollars to fill library funding gaps but now will use other revenue sources

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Salem Oregon lodging tax
AAHOA and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association say they encouraged Salem, Oregon, to change its plan to divert lodging tax funds from supporting tourism to fill library funding gaps. Both organizations say the diversion could have cut funding for year-round visitor attractions. Pictured is the Oregon state capital building, which is in Salem.

SALEM, OREGON, RECENTLY changed its plan to use transient lodging tax funds for library funding gaps. AAHOA and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association have been closely monitoring the municipality’s attempts to divert the protected revenue from its intended purpose, promoting tourism.

Instead, the city will use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Hotel taxes diverted from tourism could diminish funding for year-round visitor attraction efforts, AAHOA said in a statement.

“AAHOA and ORLA were proactive in ensuring appropriate use of the transient lodging tax in the city of Salem,” said Taran Patel, AAHOA’s Northwest regional director. “This is a great example of the importance of AAHOA members being active in advocacy at the local levels of government.”

AAHOA said that the Oregon state legislature set forth specific guidelines in 2003 for cities regarding the use of funds for tourism promotion and related facilities. Notably, a portion of hotel taxes must be allocated to promoting tourism and enhancing tourist destinations. Any rise in hotel tax revenue must assign 70 percent to tourism promotion, leaving the remaining 30 percent at the city’s discretion, the association added.

AAHOA recently appointed Viral Patel as Central Midwest regional director and Nilesh Patel as director at large for the Eastern Division to its board of directors for the 2024-2025 term.