The hotel and motel tax in Gwinnett County could go up next year to 8 percent. It currently sits at 7 percent.
County officials want to raise the tax to renovate and expand the Infinite Energy Center complex.
Lisa Anders, the Executive Director of Explore Gwinnett, said a large focus of the expansion will be on the Center’s Forum.
“By more than doubling the size of that space alone, we can triple the potential amount of meetings we bid for,” Anders said.
Data from the county showed the complex hosted about 675 events with 1.2 million attendees this year. Numbers also showed the Center generates about $200 million a year in economic impact.
Anders said diversity in Gwinnett is helping develop its tourism industry.
“That’s helping us reach out to a lot of the international visitors and international tour groups,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of growth and possibility for growth with those markets.”
Anders said Gwinnett also relies heavily on markets within driving range as opposed to groups who have to fly in.
Numbers from the county showed on average about 73 percent of rooms in the Convention Center’s district were booked last month. The rate in Atlanta was 68 percent.
The tax increase could contribute about $1.2 – $1.5 million a year to the funds for the Center’s planned $90-million expansion project. Work on the expansion could start a year from now and may take between two to three years.
The county will have to get approval from state lawmakers to raise the tax rate.