Bend City Council “getting it right” with Visit Bend
The Bend City Council Wednesday night did a little catching up on how to fine tune Bend’s efforts to more effectively coordinate tourism promotion efforts, especially since voters recently approved a couple of substantial increases in the room tax rate. It means more money to spend promoting Bend as a year-round vacation destination region.
Up to this point, the contractor, Visit Bend, provided newspaper, radio, TV, specialty promotion videos and other outreach to pump-up tourism for the Bend area. And so far, the Bend City Council says it’s been very pleased with the results.
But with the added revenue, and a re-examination of the city’s relationship with Visit Bend, the council decided to re-arrange things a bit. The city worked with Visit Bend officials to revise their by-laws which creates a clearer, cleaner link between the city and Visit Bend. City Manager Eric King said the changes produce a relationship that more closely resembles the legal structure the city has with other businesses that provides the city with contract services.
Added to the mix is the Bend Economic Development Advisory Board, BEDAB, which will provide oversight of Visit Bend with the assistance of city finance and business advocacy staff. The city contract with BEDAB will be for three years. BEDAB had asked for five. City Councilors said five years is a bit too long – too many things can happen over a five year period. They said three years is generally more manageable.
The new longer arms-length relationship between the city council and Visit Bend, as moderated through BEDAB, was approved by a majority of the council.