Welcome to Durango

If you have something to say about the state of tourism in Durango (and we know you do), now is the time to speak up.

The City of Durango recently announced the “Resident Sentiment Survey” is now open for all county residents to weigh in, which aims to “monitor resident opinions on tourism in La Plata County over time.”

Of course, Durango has been a tourist economy for decades. But with the surge of visitors as a result of the pandemic, local officials have boosted efforts to gauge the town’s pulse on the effects of so many visitors.

After entering some personal info on how long you’ve lived in Durango, the survey asks questions about how much you know about the lodgers tax. The quick and dirty: the lodgers tax is a tax paid by visitors on hotel rooms, vacation rentals and commercial campsites.

About 55% of the tax revenue goes to increase tourism efforts, 20% for city transit and 14% for arts and culture projects (the remaining balance is left to the City Council on how to spend). In 2021, Durango voters approved an increase of the lodgers tax from 2% to 5.25%.

Back to the survey, residents are asked whether tourism is good for La Plata County, whether they believe the tourism industry is strong and whether “tourism improves my quality of life in La Plata County.”

It also asks whether residents believe Visit Durango, the organization in charge of tourism efforts, is doing a good job of sustainable tourism manageament and marketing (think those “responsible tourism” signs you’ve seen around town). Indeed, since the pandemic rush of visitors, especially to the backcountry, Visitor Durango has made it a priority to put out messaging to encourage more responsible behavior, like don’t drive your ATV off trail and pack out your poop.

The survey also seeks to gauge whether residents are “satisfied with the balance of positive impacts to negative impacts of tourism,” and whether you’d like to see more tourists coming to La Plata County during off-peak seasons (November-April).

One of the harder questions we found was whether “the sales and lodging tax that tourist pays on their purchases adequately compensates for the wear and tear they create on our infrastructure and outdoor recreation areas.”

All in all, the survey took about 10-15 minutes. And hey, you’ll also be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to a local shop or restaurant. Check it out here: bit.ly/3i8uW3j

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