‘Travel Superior’ CEO Speaks Out Against Mayor Paine’s Tourism Commission Proposal

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The president and CEO of Superior’s visitor’s bureau, known as Travel Superior, is speaking out against Mayor Jim Paine’s proposal to create a tourism commission to handle 100 percent of the city’s tourism tax revenue.

Taylor Pedersen believes the process to potentially do away with Travel Superior has been rushed and he doesn’t believe a six-person commission is the best way to oversee roughly $860,000 in hotel-motel taxes every year.

Pedersen, who is also the head of the Superior-Douglas Area Chamber of Commerce, said his board of up to 20 people, which includes Mayor Paine and members of the restaurant and hotel industries, is a more transparent process with public dollars.

“To have a volunteer committee appointed, by one to two people on an annual basis, decide who receives 100 percent of the hotel-motel tax and no guarantees that it’s going to be used for tourism and development,” Pedersen said.  “Tourism is increasing every year. The system’s not broken. Why are we really choosing to change it at this point, and I haven’t gotten that answer when I’ve asked that question.”

Travel Superior has traditionally received 70 percent of the tourism tax revenue every year. The city has gotten the other 30 percent.

Last week, Mayor Paine told FOX 21 he agrees Superior is known as a great destination and there’s plenty to celebrate, but he said that doesn’t mean the city can’t do better.

The council will vote on the tourism commission proposal at the next council meeting Sept. 7.

To read Pedersen’s letter on this subject to the local tourism industry, click here.

Meanwhile, this possible change in the way tourism tax dollars are handled in Superior comes just weeks after a political battle over tourism dollars in Duluth by Mayor Emily Larson, which ultimately ended with the decision to outsource nearly $2 million in the city’s marketing budget to a company out of the Twin Cities.

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