End Of Year Tourism Taxes Made A Strong Turnaround

2020 ended with tourism in Duluth being down by about 30%.

DULUTH, Minn. – Tourism tax revenue in duluth took a hit over the past year as some bars, restaurants, and hotels were forced to close to protect public health during the pandemic, but Duluth’s estimated tourism tax drop ended up lower than expected.

Based on trends shown throughout the pandemic, the City of Duluth projected a significant decrease in tourism tax collections for 2020.

Restrictions brought on by the pandemic created a decline in visitors to the area.

The tax money collected from hotels, bars, and restaurants also decreased due to fewer people coming here.

“As we were tracking, what was going on with closures and the rapid increases covid positive tests and exposures, we were seeing 50% decreases in travel lodging, food, and beverage,” said Jen Carlson, the director of finance for the City of Duluth.

The trend eventually had a strong turnaround after COVID-19 restrictions began to loosen.

“What we saw was very suprisingly strong summer and fall season which really did help us see signs of some recovery,” said Anna Tanski, the president of Visit Duluth.

2020 ended with tourism in Duluth being down by about 30%.

City officials say if the initial big drop in tourism tax had continued all year, money would now be much tighter to meet financial obligations.

“If we were to continue to see the 50% in 2020, that would have been approximately enough to make our debt payments.

Tanski says while the end of year revenue increase brought back a more positive outcome, they are staying ready for the unknown.

“We are preparing for every possible scenario as it exists right now, but we are very aware that things can change really quickly. We are prepared to respond accordingly,” said Tanski.

Now the major goal is working even harder to try and make 2021 a better year for tourism.


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