BUTTE - Just as Butte’s tourism season was getting started, coronavirus dealt the hotel industry a vicious economic blow.
“Who knew? Who knew that we would ever come across something like this?,” said Maria Pochervina, director of the Tourism Business Improvement District.
Butte’s Tourism Business Improvement District reports that occupancy in the county’s 18 hotels and motels have been down over the summer since the pandemic ended large events and festivals.
“It’s had a dramatic effect. Some of my hotels since the onset went from having good occupancy to zero,” said Pochervina.
The TBID board will be asking Butte’s Council of Commissioners to approve a $1 bed tax to raise money from promotional efforts.
Earlier this year, the board was considering increasing the tax to $2 to help raise funding for a revenue guarantee to bring a second flight to the Bert Mooney Airport.
“But after Covid, John, I just am not thinking hoteliers are going to be for that, that they are not going to want to see that assessment increase,” said Pochervina.
And while festivals and large conventions are off the table right now due to the coronavirus, the city is trying to promote its outdoor and leisure activities to bring some new life into the hotel industry.
“We’ve got amazing fishing opportunities, camping opportunities and all of this where you can go back to the Montana brand of promotion where you have adventure by day and relaxing hospitality by night,” she said.
The council of commissioners will consider the matter at its Sep. 9 meeting.