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Justin Bragiel on the proper use of the hotel occupancy tax

PALESTINE, March 21, 2013–The Ben E. Keith meeting facility hosted a seminar on Thursday with speaker Justin Bragiel, General Counsel for the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, about the proper use of hotel occupancy taxes. The seminar was sponsored by the Palestine Hospitality Association.

"We are all in the tourism business. Tourism is the vital core of our economy. Texas is the third most visited state, and tourism is a significant factor whether we recognize it or not," Bragiel said.

"Property taxes and sales taxes, collected by the city, are 6 -13% of hotel's property income. The higher the hotel value, the more they pay in taxes."

According to Bragiel, cities are to spend these hotel occupancy taxes in ten different ways;

1) Convention and visitor centers, civic centers , colosseums; used for meetings involving tourists or tourism

2) Convention Delegates; people working for a large convention or facilities involving tourism

3) Advertising and Promotions; billboards, television, radio, internet and sponsorships to bring in tourists

4) Application Process; applications for grants to benefit tourism in your town

5) Arts; visual performances, cultural arts, community arts

6) Historical restoration or historical events; these bring visitors to hotels

7) Sports for tourists; A game or event that will bring tourists to town that will stay in area hotels

8) Sports Facilities; bringing in tourists to stay in hotels

9) Transportation for tourists; transporting guest from hotel to convention centers, commercial centers in the city, then back to the hotels

10) Signage; to direct tourists

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