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Bangor visitors bureau pitches new hotel fees to drum up more funds for marketing

Micky Bedell
Bangor Daily News

With Maine’s tourist season on the horizon, the visitors bureau in Bangor wants to levy new hotel fees to generate more funding to market the region to potential visitors.

The Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that a 2% fee on hotel visits would raise about $1 million in marketing revenue.

Under the proposal, which the group pitched to city councilors earlier this week, hotel customers in Bangor would see new fees on their room receipts. The city would collect that revenue and then turn it over to visitors bureau, which would use the funds to market and drive more business to the region.

Austin Muchemore, the Hollywood Casino general manager who sits on the board for the visitors bureau, said the funding would bring more conferences and other big events to Bangor.

"We have this massive convention center right next to my building," he told the city council Monday evening. "I would love to see it just full of all these events. I don't think we're doing the best job we can to attract especially when you compare us to other cities in the state such as Portland, who I think does a really fantastic job."

City Councilor Susan Hawes said she believes the proposal would help Bangor hotels attract more visitors.

"It's a huge potential revenue source for the city and for all the businesses around," she said. "When events come here they don't just go to the Cross Center and go home. They stay in the hotels. They go to the restaurants. They shop. They go to other areas. They go to Bar Harbor."

The city of Portland has considered establishing a tourism improvement district as well.

The Bangor-area bureau will eventually need to secure final approval from the city council.