Laurel Tourism and Promotion Tax Vote on June 14

May 16, 2022

What is it?

If passed, the Laurel Tourism Promotion Tax will add a 3% tax on hotel, motel, & short term rental bills.

The average nightly rate of a hotel  is $82.00. That means that this tax would only increase a nightly stay by $2.46.

Why do we need this?

Laurel has seen a huge increase in visitors and tourists in recent years. Tourism efforts have previously been funded by local tax dollars. This tax will allow us to fund new tourism promotion efforts with tax dollars collected from visitors.

Tourism is a major contributing factor to the successful retail and restaurant growth. It is time for us to put sustainable measures in place to accommodate this new industry. The Laurel Welcome Center will be housed in a remodeled unit from the first Housing Authority Development. In addition to being a first stop for travelers, the building will have a recreation of one of the original Housing Authority units. It will also have photos and informational panels sharing Laurel history and stories of significant African American community members raised in the Housing Authority. To learn more about the Laurel Welcome Center, please read the press release HERE.

By providing a warm and informational welcome, we are increasing the likelihood of tourists enjoying their visit in Laurel. Happy tourists = good word of mouth recommendations and return visitors!

Previously, Visit Laurel-Jones County used CARES Act funds to run digital ads in other markets. Digital ads have proven to be very effective. This tax would allow us to have a sustainable source of funding to pursue more frequent digital ad campaigns. Laurel is seen by a national audience of nearly 30 million viewers every year; we need to invest in ways to convert viewers to visitors on a national level.

How will we use it?

Welcome Center Operations & Staffing

Welcome Center Displays, & Furnishings 


Printed Materials

Sponsorships for events that draw tourism (Example: Oak Park Reunion, Downtown Events) 

Curious what the ballot will look like? You can view a sample ballot Here

The City of Laurel, established as a lumber town in 1882, is conveniently situated approximately two hours from larger destination cities such as Jackson, Biloxi, New Orleans, and Mobile. In recent years, the city has become a destination all its own thanks, in part, to its starring role in HGTV’s popular “Hometown” series. As Laurel, and interest in it, continues to grow, we are committed to providing the resources necessary to help all of our residents and businesses reach their full potential.
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