Huntington Beach Tourism Bureau Gets a Five-Year Deal

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Perhaps Steve Bone, the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau president, has picked up a few pointers from Scott Boras.

The uber-baseball player agent, whose offices are down the road in Newport Beach, is the best in the business when it comes to getting his clients long-term contracts.

He would have been pround of Bone last night at the Huntington Beach City Council meeting.

On the table was a five-year extension of the funding agreement between the city and the visitors bureau. Former Mayor Dave Sullivan returned to his old stomping grounds last night to lobby against it.

Sullivan suggested that, “for reasons of the economy,” the agreement should be renewed for no more than one year at a time and that annual “performance measures” should be established for the organization.

Councilman Joe Carchio also questioned the agreement and asked Bone if five-year deal is really necessary.

“The answer is yes – it is necessary,” Bone responded. Bone said the bureau’s funds come from visitors that the bureau works to attract to Surf City. So in his estimation the bureau pays for itself. It gets a ten percent cut of the revenue generated from the Transient Occupancy Tax.

Bone also cited multiple-year contracts with international agencies that require the Bureau to have a multiple year funding agreement.

Carchio continued to push Bone on the five-year extension request and Sullivan’s one-year extension suggestion as an alternative. That’s when Bone struck back with a hard-line position.

“Are we going to be in the business — or not — of promoting tourism in this community?” Bone asked.

Bone then claimed that hotels in Huntington Beach were built with “hundreds of millions of dollars” and that they would be disappointed to hear that the city would be deciding on an annual basis whether or not to support tourism.

An annual review would also stop investment to visitor-based industries, Bone said.

Carchio quickly toned down the questioning and reassured Bone that he agreed the city should make the commitment so the bureau could move forward with necessary “planning.”

A motion to approve the agreement passed 7-0.

— ADAM ELMAHREK

 

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