Resort tax revenue is a great way to evaluate income from tourism. COVID did not shut down Red Lodge. Resort tax income in fiscal year (FY) 2020 cannot be compared to the previous year, which saw an unusual growth in resort tax revenue. Excluding the unusually high revenue from FY 2019, resort tax income for FY 2020 was about what would have been expected for that year if the usual annual growth rate (about 3%) in previous years had been applied. Many people were coming to Red Lodge to get away from more crowded areas during the pandemic. Yes, this year’s flooding in June wreaked havoc. How much havoc is uncertain, as we don’t have resort tax information for FY 2023, which is the period of time that best reflects the impact of the flooding. Any resort tax information for 2023, though, can’t be compared to the previous two fiscal years, which saw unprecedented growth in resort tax revenue (24.2% in FY 2021 and 25.3% in FY 2022!). The current number of hotel beds in Red Lodge is inadequate? So we should build more hotels and motels, which would only compete with current facilities and risk hurting long-time and well-loved businesses? At what point does a community say enough is enough, and step away from a path towards over tourism? How is affordable/workforce housing not linked to rentals being taken off the market in order to make Airbnb happy? And rights? How about the rights of a community to determine what is best for itself, as more and more communities across the West are doing, as they face the conundrum of short-term rentals? One thing is certain. The last place Red Lodge wants to get advice from is the Billings Association of Realtors.
More, from inthesetimes.com:
Airbnb, vrbo, over tourism, too many people impact quality of life, resort tax numbers don’t lie, affordable housing, workforce housing