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LTVA opens pocketbook for promotions

Sally J. Taylor

Despite a brief eruption of hard feelings, the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Board of Directors opened its pocketbook Thursday and committed a total of $142,000 to four promotional causes.

“The money is flying today,” Skip Sayre, marketing director of Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and a member of the board of directors of the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority, said as he presented a proposal for a Labor Day Weekend series of events to be partially funded by the LTVA and Douglas County.

The board voted to provide $90,000 to be matched by the county, which originally was expected to pick up the entire tab. Bob Anderson, formerly with the Incline Village Convention and Visitors Bureau was selected as coordinator of the event.

“If the LTVA can step up and become a partner in this event with a funding commitment, we can go to Douglas County and ask for a portion,” Sayre said.

Tom Davis, the city’s representative to the board, was the sole dissenter saying he approved the event but would rather see it on Memorial Day.

In the midst of a discussion on long-range planning needs, a tense side-discussion between Commissioner Don Miner, Douglas County’s representative to the board, and Councilman Davis degraded into name calling and a stormy exit of Davis after a derogatory comment by Miner.

The two have previously sparred over the commitment of each other’s governmental body to LTVA funding and partnership.

Previous to the outburst, the board also approved $59,500 for Europe-based Development Associates, founded by Blaine Henry, to represent Lake Tahoe tourism interests in the United Kingdom and the Benelux countries of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

“This (funding) would allow us to create a vehicle and get started this year rather than waiting a few years down the line (when more funding became available),” Henry said.

For the special events and international marketing commitments, the board elected to dip into an unrestricted contingency fund, which Miner explained was originally set aside to accumulate for a special event.

During the January meeting, at the request of the city, $73,700 of the same fund was used to contract with Vesta Rea & Associates to market the Lake Tahoe Airport and attract commercial air service.

Almost as an afterthought, the board approved $1,000 from the so-called contingency fund for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s update of a 1974 study that considered possible local funding sources for environmental and transportation improvements. Jim Baetge, executive director of the TRPA, is seeking $20,000 in local funds for the $100,000 study update. The state of California has committed $80,000 if that local match is found.

Drawing from a line item in the marketing budget for educational purposes, the board agreed to provide $1,500 toward the Charlie Mouser Marketing and Advertising Seminars scheduled the week of April 20. Co-sponsored by the South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe-Douglas chambers of commerce and the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the weeklong seminar focuses on marketing, advertising and customer service.

The next meeting of the LTVA is expected to be a planning retreat, ideally with TDVA board members participating. It is tentatively set for March 26.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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