A YES vote for the Hotel Occupancy Proposal on November’s ballot is a vote to ensure that local entities receive funding which will aid in our area’s economic development activities, strengthen the tourism industry and work to expand air service to the Shreveport-Bossier area.

The local Shreveport Bossier economy will get a boost from these additional dollars which will be distributed to three local organizations: the Independence Bowl Foundation, the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission (SBSC) and Regional Air Service Alliance (RASA). These organizations will pump these dollars back into our economy to market our area to sporting events and to expand national air service to our area.

Lisa Johnson, Bossier Chamber of Commerce President/CEO
Lisa Johnson, Bossier Chamber of Commerce President/CEO

Business travel is a vital piece of the local economy that supports Barksdale Air Force Base, Benteler Steel, the National Cyber Research Park, and businesses throughout both parishes. As part of the Chamber’s dedication to advocate for members’ interests, we commissioned a survey in order to help identify the direct impact of enhanced air services. Over 40% share the need for enhanced air services at the Shreveport Regional Airport. Increased direct flights and frequency, more destinations, and competitive airfare pricing were among the list of specific needs from respondents. In fact, each daily flight with a 50-seat aircraft provides an economic impact of $4,000,000 annually to Bossier and Caddo Parishes.

Passage of the Hotel Occupancy Proposal means overnight guests in Bossier and Caddo parishes would pay an extra 1.5% tax on hotel and motel room nights. This tax averages out to approximately $1.10 per room per night; and is not expected to impact our area’s competitive room rates. Supporting the Hotel Occupancy Proposal will result in a $31 million per year economic impact for Northwest Louisiana. This is an opportunity that locals can’t afford to have defeated. By voting YES for the Occupancy Proposal, you will be voting to support our local economy.

Lisa Johnson is President/CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.