by Trish Rudder
Travel Berkeley Springs president Stephanie Rebant told the Bath Town Council that tourism grew 9 % this year in Morgan County.
At the September 19 council meeting, Rebant said the total hotel/motel tax revenue collected by the town and county in FY23 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) came to $942, 864 – an increase of $133,448 over last year.
She told the council that the hotel/motel tax revenue of $127,682 was collected by the town and $815,182 by the county.
Rebant said the tax revenue total of $942,964 translates into $15 million in lodging revenue alone.
“With an average room cost of $160 a night, the tax represents payments for 94,000 room nights, or approximately 198,000 overnight visitors since room units are usually occupied by a minimum of two persons,” she said.
The hotel/motel tax is a 6 % tax on lodging bills, from hotels, motels, B&Bs and vacation rental homes, which is handed over to the county and towns.
Half of the collected revenue goes to Travel Berkeley Springs (TBS) to promote tourism and the other half is distributed to county or town organizations for beautification, history and culture efforts and recreation, such as the Morgan County Parks & Recreation, Foxglove Garden Club and the Morgan County Arts Council.
“Tourism is the largest economic generator in Morgan County and we are soaring to become a $200 million dollar industry,” Rebant said.
She said that 2022 was West Virginia’s” best tourist year ever with an annual impact statewide exceeding $7 billion.”