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Tourism Zone Releases 2008 Annual Report

The Door County Tourism Zone Commission, responsible for overseeing the collection and spending of room tax dollars, released its annual report May 26.

The zone reported that it collected $2,635,603 in room tax in 2008, of which 30 percent ($790,172) was distributed back to municipalities for general use purposes. Another four percent, or $127,702, went to administrative costs, and the remaining 66 percent went to the Door County Visitor Bureau for the promotion of overnight stays.

Collection data mirrored the nationwide economic downturn that hit hard last fall. Lodging occupancy rates rose slightly over 2007 in May, July and August, but declined slightly in June. September saw a 5.41 percent drop, but a portion of that is traced to the fact that Labor Day Weekend in 2008 landed in August.

But occupancy in October and November dropped precipitously, declining 4.90 percent and 3.33 percent, respectively. The average daily room rate rose in all months except May and July.

The biggest collectors were the Town of Gibraltar, which brought in $458,940, or 17.4 percent of funds. Sister Bay was next with $414,585 (15.7 percent), then Ephraim at $385,447 (14.6 percent) and the Village of Egg Harbor at $308,553 (11.7 percent).

In 2008, the zone added the remaining seven municipalities to the zone, bringing all 19 Door County municipalities into the organization. Those additions, along with newly discovered renters, increased the number of lodging permit holders by 151, to 794.