Missoula renews, expands downtown tourism district

Missoula’s Tourism Business Improvement District is expanding in 2020 to include the entire city.

In an 8-0 vote with one abstention and three absent, the City Council approved the renewal of the TBID for a second 10-year period and its citywide expansion, saying the district provides an important economic boost.

“What was really encouraging to see is the TBID, after 10 years, has proven that it pays for itself,” said Councilor Heather Harp. “That’s a remarkable accomplishment.”

Only one small hotel establishment protested the expansion at Monday night’s public hearing, saying the TBID caters only to larger hotels.

But TBID supporters countered that with its efforts to woo more travelers to Missoula, either by working with airlines, marketing at conferences, or providing grants to event organizers, the TBID benefits everyone, even if only with a ripple effect.

Barbara Neilan, the district’s executive director, said it was a concern when the TBID formed initially in 2010 that it would only benefit the larger hotels. But during the course of the past nine years, she said they found the opposite to be true.

“People are so used to fees

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