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San Diego Tourism Authority saved by funding deal


Halting the closure of the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA), the city’s convention and visitors’ bureau, was a deal between the mayor of San Diego and the Tourism Marketing District (TMD).

Set to close on June 3 due to lack of funding from the Tourism Marketing District, SDTA was saved on May 31 when Mayor Bob Filner signed a deal to release $5.7 million to TMD. The near closure of the SDTA could have led to 85 out-of-work employees and a stop to the city’s sales and marketing efforts. Operations at the San Diego Convention Center would have continued if the SDTA closed. 

“It is important to note that this will not affect the authority’s convention center sales team, which is funded through a contract with the San Diego Convention Center Corp.,” said Todd Shallan, chair, SDTA.

Disagreement between TMD and the mayor over a 2 percent hotel tax, which equals about $30 million annually, started the road toward closure of the SDTA. Mayor Filner refused to release the funds to TMD, citing $300,000 needed to be allocated for a centennial celebration in 2015. According to the mayor’s office, TMD proposed a smaller amount.

“I have had enough of the whining and complaining from the wealthiest hotels in America,” said Filner, detailing his reason not to release the hotel tax funding.

TMD board members eventually voted to release $500,000 for the centennial celebration in Balboa Park.

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