Local News

August 12, 2013

London looked to Somerset for advice when establishing tourism commission


The London City Council held a special-called meeting Thursday for the second reading of an ordinance establishing a tourism and convention commission for the purpose of promoting and developing convention and tourism activities and facilities.

The second reading comes only days after Mayor Troy Rudder and the council announced the city would establish an independent tourism and convention commission for the city.

Prior to the first reading of the ordinance, Rudder made it clear the decision wasn’t made in an attempt to indict the London-Laurel Tourist Commission in any way, but said it was time for the city to develop their own vision for the future. 

“It’s not saying anything against what’s already in place, but there comes a time when you have to take control and decide your own direction,” Rudder stated in Monday’s meeting.

Rudder went on to say he had spoken with Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler and was confident that a city tourism and convention commission is in the best interest of the people of London.

Girdler faced similar controversy when the decision was made to establish a tourism and convention commission for Somerset.  Girdler said he prefers a separate city tourism agency rather than a joint partnership.

“Somerset and London are very similar,” Girdler said.  “We are in the same situation. We have to provide jobs, economic growth and services.  We are not doing our jobs if we don’t take advantage of these opportunities for revenue.”

Somerset enacted an ordinance to establish their own city tourism and convention commission on July 1.  So far, Girdler says it has been “very positive.”

Somerset is a third class city; while London is fourth class.  Unlike London, Somerset does not have the option to pass a restaurant tax, but they can levy a one percent of the transient room tax for convention facilities.

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