Humboldt County launching tourism district to boost economy

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

Eureka Kinetic Sculpture Race
Participants in Eureka’s annual kinetic sculpture race. (Photo Credit: redwoodcoaster via Flickr).

There’s no mistaking—from the north in Eureka to the south in San Diego—tourism plays a big role in the local California economy.

Tons of dollars are spent every year, marketing our state’s diverse regions.  

In Humboldt County, it’s the big talker, thanks to a recent decision by the Board of Supervisors. On May 22, the board voted to form the Humboldt County Business Improvement District. 

Executive Director of the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau and of the Humboldt Lodging Alliance, Tony Smithers said this is a game changer. 

“This special district assessment district will levy a 2 percent surcharge on overnight stays to create a $1 million annual marketing fund to promote Humboldt County for the next five years,” said Smithers.

That’s not all. Nearly 25 percent of that money will go to local organizations that contribute to tourism marketing. 

“Whether it’s a destination event by a service club, a visitor center run by a chamber of commerce or something we haven’t even thought of, new partners will be welcomed in the quest to put heads in beds,” said Smithers.

There’ll be more TV and radio ads highlighting Humboldt County, new destination events and other new strategies.

The city of Del Mar is reaping the benefits of their own Tourism Improvement District. 

In September of 2010, the city council authorized the formation of the district, allowing hotel operators to charge guests an additional 1 percent fee. 

A month later, the district started collecting money with more than $172,000 during the first year.

The bulk of the money will be used to create a website, to be a one stop shop for potential tourists. It’s expected to be up and running within a few months.

Humboldt County is hoping to have as much success as Del Mar, if not more.

“The establishment of the Humboldt Tourism Business Improvement District…comes at a time when the U.S. tourism industry in general is showing strong signs of recovery,” added Smithers. “It is the visitor industry that is leading the local economy out of the recession. The worldwide appetite for travel has been delayed, but it won’t be denied, and we are now in the perfect position to satisfy that pent up demand.”

The new district starts up July 1.


Cheryl Getuiza

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