Release of tourism dollars at stalemate with San Diego mayor's office

Tourism is San Diego's second-largest industry

SAN DIEGO -  

At its annual state of tourism meeting, more than 800 people who work in the San Diego tourism industry jeered San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Thursday.
 
"We need an agreement signed by the mayor in order to release funds and he hasn't done that as yet," said Joe Terzi with the San Diego Tourism Authority.
 
10News learned that the mayor won't sign it unless ordered to do by a judge.
 
Five years ago, San Diego created a Tourism Marking District (TMD) where those in the industry -- mostly hotels -- assessed themselves a 2 percent increase in the transient occupancy tax, which every city charges visitors. 
 
The city's take from the transient occupancy tax is 10 percent. That 2 percent was used to pay for advertising outside the city to bring more tourists to San Diego.
 
In 2012, more than 32 million people visited San Diego, spending a total of $18.3 billion. But the TMD expired in December, and the agreement to release funds collected by that 2 percent remains unsigned, despite a City Council vote to authorize it. 
 
"I'm not going to agree to that," said Filner. "I'm not going to give private hotel owners $30 million to advertise their private hotels; that should be a public decision not a private decision."
 
San Diego was the first to create a TMD, and to date, 74 other cities in California have done so.
 
"We've already had to cancel $5.4 million in advertising for our spring break campaign," Terzi said.
 
San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer said he's asking for a public hearing to determine what the delay is going to cost and what the consequences are.
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