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Gallatin County Commission approves plan to raise hotel fees by $2 to help tourism

Posted: 8:23 PM, Jul 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-23 22:23:24-04

The Gallatin County Commission put its seal of approval on a plan to add two more bucks to your hotel bill.

It doesn’t sound like much but those dollars could add up to help tourism.

“Just a line item on your hotel bill,” says Don Seifert, Gallatin County Commissioner.

In Gallatin County, there are a lot of hotels. That means even more people staying at them.

The Gallatin Valley Business Improvement District, which previously called the City of Bozeman its home, expanded county-wide for this reason.

By adding two bucks to the nightly bill across just three different cities, the money adds up.

“It’s about $1.2 million from the City of Bozeman, about $30,000 from the hotels and motels in Belgrade and about $13,000 from the hotels and motels in Three Forks, so it’s a sizable chunk of change,” Seifert says.

Commissioner Don Seifert says that’s 30 Bozeman hotels, four Belgrade hotels and two in Three Forks.

“It’s every hotel that’s got more than 10 beds,” Seifert says.

Many of us know this, but tourism is a big backbone to the economy of Gallatin County so with $2 more coming from hotel guests across the area, this could add a little more perspective.

A report taken recently by the University of Montana’s Institute on Tourism and Recreation Research drives this home.

Just last year in Gallatin County alone, visitors shelled out over $800 million, spending more money than any other place in Montana.

That’s up about $155 million more from 2017.

“It is constantly going up and as we add more motels, more hotels, we’re generating more and more,” Seifert says.

As for what that two bucks can do within the district, it can help promote sports tournaments and attracting new airlines.

And with more than $1 million dedicated to just that, Seifert says keeping that local will make a big difference.

“This type of program has been used throughout the state, throughout the nation very successfully and I’m just glad that Gallatin County can help participate in it,” Seifert says.

The commission still has to approve a new board of directors to the Gallatin Valley Business Improvement District.

That will be done before this district replaces the last 10-year-old one, which will happen this September.