Tourism in Amarillo: Making or Losing Money?

Eric Miller, Convention & Visitor Council
Eric Miller, Convention & Visitor Council
Bobby Lee, Big Texan Steak Ranch
Bobby Lee, Big Texan Steak Ranch

The number of hotel rooms in amarillo causing a big controversy... And it all leads to whether Amarillo is making or losing money.

The Texas Hotel and Motel association shows Amarillo lost six million dollars from January to June when comparing 2008 to 2007.

That's about 550 thousand in tax revenue... But the City of Amarillo says not so fast... Tax revenue is up so far this year.

Some say tourism is good..

Eric Miller with the Convention & Visitor Council says, "We will will probably finish our year at the end of the month having the second best tourism year in amarillo's history."

Others bad..

Bobby Lee, Co-Owner of Big Texan Steak Ranch says, "6 million dollars in the past six months, that hurts, that's 500 thousand dollars worth of tax money that is not going to the city of Amarillo. If we continue this trend it is going to hurt everyone in the area."

The Texas Hotel and Motel Association shows Amarillo down 10.7% in occupancy - doing some math they came out with the 6 million dollar loss.

But the city says revenue is up... Here is why.

Dr. Brian Eades, Amarillo CIty Commissioner says, "If you are going to look at complete occupancy of hotel rooms and you have added hundreds of new hotel rooms during the year than it is going to appear that you have decreased tax revenue per room, when in reality you are bringing in as much or more than you did last year."

The city shows tax revenue is up more than a $100,000 from occupancy so far this year.

Both sides agree, there are rooms unfilled, leaving some questioning why more hotels are being built.

We will explore that issue Wednesday.