Concert goers wait to see country artist Luke Bryan on the Bangor waterfront last August. The Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau is proposing a fee on hotel guests that would fund efforts to market Bangor to tourists. Credit: David Marino Jr. / BDN

A group that promotes the Bangor region to potential visitors wants to establish a fee on hotel guests to fund marketing efforts aimed at drawing a greater share of Maine’s tourist traffic to the Queen City.

Representatives from the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau presented the idea of Bangor having its own tourism improvement district to the City Council at a workshop Monday night.

Portland is considering a similar effort, which would establish a tourism improvement district that would levy a fee on hotel guests and direct the funds to marketing and promoting the city for future tourists.

“Maine tourism continues to increase and, in spite of two very rough years for the hospitality industry, it really rebounded in a big way,” said Austin Muchemore, the general manager and vice president of the Hollywood Casino and a member of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.

The bureau, which installed Gretchen Chauncey as its new executive director last week, is underfunded with its current $160,000 annual budget, even as state tourism ticks up following an initial pandemic lull, Muchemore said.

Hotels would pay an assessing fee that would appear on guests’ bills. The city government would collect the revenue and route it back to the bureau, which would manage the tourism improvement district, handling the marketing efforts. Muchemore estimated that the new fee would raise about $1 million for the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau, which would market on behalf of hoteliers to bring in visitors.

Tourism improvement districts produce a 2.1 percent increase in demand for hotel rooms, and add 4.5 percent revenue increases for hotels, on average, according to research Muchemore cited.

The $1 million estimate is based on the city levying a 2 percent gross room receipt tax, he said. The tourism bureau would manage the district, and a committee of local hotel operators would provide oversight. Bangor city government would give final approval for the effort to launch.

About 28 hotels in Bangor would be eligible to be part of the district, and 21 have indicated their support, Muchemore said. Several towns in states like California, Montana and Washington have similar districts.

City Councilor Jonathan Sprague said that there were other organizations throughout Bangor that market the city, like the Bangor International Airport and the Downtown Bangor Partnership.

“And those are just the ones I know about,” Sprague said. “How is everyone going to work together, rather than separately?”

Muchemore said that the tourism improvement district would present an opportunity for those parties to work together.

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Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to