Overview

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The San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) is a city-wide Tourism Business Improvement District encompassing all areas within the city limits of the City of San Diego.

The SDTMD allows lodging businesses within the City of San Diego to organize their efforts to increase tourism, which in turn increases hotel room night stays. It enables the businesses to work together to achieve results that would not be possible individually.

Within the SDTMD, lodging businesses are assessed, and those dollars are used to fund programs and services to increase room night stays, creating a true economic engine in the City and the region as a whole.

The SDTMD is focused on programs and services that will deliver incremental new room night sales to its assessed members, including marketing of member businesses, tourist promotion activities, and funding of special events and programs.

Working together through the SDTMD, the member lodging businesses continue to create strong, measurable results in bringing more visitors to San Diego.
In San Diego, the City Council ordinance that was enacted with the purpose of improving room occupancy and room night sales has several key elements:
  • Funds cannot be diverted for other government programs
  • Funds must be spent to provide a specific benefit to those who pay
  • Funds provide a stable on-going source of funding for tourism promotion

History

The San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) was established in 2008 to fund effective and competitive destination marketing for the City of San Diego by bringing visitors into hotels and assessing the hotels a percentage of the room fee.

Prior to 2008, a majority of the tourism marketing efforts were paid for by San Diego’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues. The TOT was established by the San Diego City Council in 1964 “solely for the purpose of promoting the City of San Diego.” However, with costs for city services increasing, various city councils diverted most of the TOT funding for other City programs. By 2007, only six percent of the TOT funds were allocated for tourism promotion.

Lodging business owners with 70 or more rooms were assessed a percentage of each room rental to be collected by the city in order to fund marketing efforts, tourism promotion activities and special events and programs. The City of San Diego also continues to collect the TOT and uses $160 million annually for general fund budget purposes.

The formation of the SDTMD and its tourism promotion-only fund, freed up TOT dollars for city services use without creating new taxes for city residents or extraneous government spending. Today, the SDTMD frees up more than $10.4 million annually, allowing the city to spend more on general fund priorities such as the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of tourist–related cultural, recreational and convention facilities, as well as roads, police, fire, parks and other city services.

After a successful five-year pilot program, the San Diego City Council voted to renew the district for another thirty-nine and one half years demonstrating their support of the highly-successful SDTMD program. Additionally, the City Council approved the second five-year operating agreement between the City of San Diego and the SDTMD to administer the collection and funding process.

Renewal

The lodging industry association developed a proposal to renew the TMD starting January 1, 2013 for thirty-nine and one-half (39 ½) years as described in a new District Management Plan. The City Council approved the plan and adopted a Resolution of Intention (R-307702) on September 25, 2012. The City Council received testimony on this renewal at the City Council meetings of October 23, 2012 and November 26, 2012.

On November 26, 2012, the City Council adopted the Resolution of Formation (R-307843), renewing the TMD and authorizing the levying of assessments of 0.55% for lodging businesses with 1 - 29 rooms and 2% for lodging businesses with 30 or more rooms.

Detailed information about the renewal process, and copies of applicable documents are below.

TMD Renewal Information
District Management Plan Download
Corporation Operating Agreement & First Amendment Download
Corporation Second Amendment & Resolution Download
Resolution of Formation Download
Resolution of Intent Download
TE Oxford Final November 2013 Download
Hotel Waiver – Indemnification Agreement
TMD Waiver Form 2013 Download
TMD Packet Download
Industry Reception Notice Download
Hotel Waiver Agreement (August 2013) Download