Vail Valley Voices: Hopes kindle for a better summer
Vail, CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report for July. The Daily publishes weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhome
A beacon has appeared in a fog of economic doldrums with the recent announcement that Vail and Beaver Creek have been awarded the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.
The event adds impetus to the efforts to attract international destination guests to offset the area’s recessionary prospects. Vail and Eagle County are well positioned to take nimble advantage of shifting global economic opportunities, even in the face of widespread uncertainty.
If the area is to maintain its quality-of-life attributes and values as a vibrant mountain resort sanctuary, the ability to open new portals through which guests and residential owners gain access is a critical next step.
Eagle airport moving toward international takeoff: Moving into a position of heightened priority are discussions among representatives from several local business interests of the need to open international air service into the Eagle County Regional Airport.
Rough estimates are that international service could bring an additional 8,000 to 10,000 air passengers annually through the airport. The multiplier for the local economy could be considerable. A more precise feasibility report is due out in late July from airport authorities.
Of those familiar with airport operations, some are of the opinion that international service could be open within a year. The town of Vail has been approached informally about participating in funding the effort, which would include costs for U.S. customs operations and flight subsidies. As those experienced with partnership negotiations have observed, the devil and delay are in the details.
Summer economic growth timid: The forecast for the summer indicates the potential for an improvement over last year. The Teva Mountain Games opened the early season with a larger event and bigger crowd than in previous years.
The town of Vail’s summer marketing campaign is aiming for a conservative sales tax revenue target of 1 percent over the rate of inflation. Assuming a 2 percent rate of inflation, the town’s $1.7 million (May through October) campaign may yield $3.6 million for Vail businesses and $143,000 in sales tax revenues.
Marketing media efforts will shift to the Internet, using extensive contact lists from Vail Resorts and the Vail Local Marketing District for e-mail campaigns timed to event promotions that are personalized to fit consumers’ consumption profiles (right person, right offer, right time).
Current lodging occupancies’ year-over-year projections increase over the next four months from 5 percent to 30 percent, which would lead the industry average. There is the potential to experience a guarded increase in room rates.
Last winter season stirred lightly: The town of Vail reported revenues from the lift tax were up 2.4 percent, but sales tax was flat for the ski season when compared with last year. (Same Store Sales Report)
Vail continues to lead Colorado competitors. All town funds and revenue accounts through April from this time last year were up 6.9 percent and up 4.7 percent from the budget.
The town of Vail’s main revenue accounts are down 14.47 percent from the 2008 pre-recession high.
The opening of the Plaza at Solaris on the former Crossroads site could change the shopping patterns in Vail Village as it competes with existing businesses. Revenue from the site’s 40,000 square feet of commercial space has been out of the picture for more than three years during the construction of Solaris. It remains to be seen if Vail’s total retail-sales tax revenues will simply be redistributed or actually increased with a new mix of competition.