The Crookston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) has seen an increase in lodging tax collected of 19.9 percent in 2012, according to Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Shannon Stassen.
This follows an increase of 8 percent in 2011. The numbers continue to increase in spite of the fact that a number of rooms in town are occupied as “extended stay” rooms, mostly from U of M, Crookston students who have been staying at the Crookston Inn while they wait for the new student residence to open in early 2013 on campus. Lodging tax is not collected on extended stays, Stassen said.
In 2012, the total lodging tax collected amounted to $55,878.44, which is collected from the AmericInn Lodge & Suites, Golf Terrace Motel and Crookston Inn. Over $1.8 million in revenue was earned by Crookston hotel properties, not including extended stays.
Using a comparison to an Explore Minnesota study of northwest Minnesota travelers, Stassen said the local CVB can conclude that approximately $10 million is spent annually in Crookston because of tourism. Other expenses include: food, fuel, shopping, entertainment and alcohol.
Lodging tax revenue is used to promote the Crookston community through many marketing strategies. The most recent initiative has been to award marketing grants to organizations that wish to create an event or attraction in Crookston. This year ten such grants were approved.
• Crookston Blue Line Club (2 grants)
• UMC Center for Sustainability
• Ice Buster Daze
• Wild Rice Peacemakers – Cowboy Mounted Shooting (2 grants)
• In the Spirit of Cinco DeMayo – UMC
• RRV Sugarbeet Museum
• Crookston Gun Club
• Rochus Amusements – Dart Tournament
The CVB also offers support for Ox Cart Days each year. August is the month when lodging numbers are the highest each year, in part because of the growth of Ox Cart Days.
An increase in the number of youth hockey tournaments sponsored by the Crookston Blue Line Club has made a very positive impact, Stassen said, especially from December to March, which has traditionally been the slowest months for lodging tax collections.
Other important factors in Crookston tourism include UMC Athletics, CYBA, hunting and nature enthusiasts and many new special events, Stassen said.