Tourism Marketing District Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Tourism Marketing District?
    Pursuant to the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 (Streets and Highway Code §36600 et. seq.), the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (SCCCVC) developed the Santa Cruz County Tourism Marketing District (SCCTMD) as a benefit assessment district to help fund marketing and sales promotion efforts for Santa Cruz County lodging businesses. The SCCTMD establishes an assessment on certain tourism business within Santa Cruz County and the funds raised through this self-assessment are used only for specific tourism marketing purposes.
  2. Is this a tax to businesses?
    No, State law specifically distinguishes assessments from taxes. Tourism Marketing District fees are an assessment of certain tourism businesses and are not a tax.
  3. Is this the same as Transient Occupancy Tax?
    No, funds raised by the Tourism Marketing Districts’ assessments are specifically purposed for tourism promotion activities.
  4. What kinds of tourism promotion activities are funded by the Tourism Marketing Districts?
    Activities include public relations, advertising, website operations, social media and other significant marketing programs. The purpose of these activities is to bring targeted visitors into Santa Cruz County, increasing occupancy and visitation beyond the summer season.
  5. How much is the Tourism Marketing District assessment and who is required to pay?
    The Santa Cruz County Tourism Marketing District was renewed for seven years beginning on July 1, 2022. Based on the benefit received, assessments will not be collected on stays of more than thirty (30) consecutive days, or on complimentary stays.

    Annual assessment rates are assessed upon each night of a visitor stay within tiers based upon annual benefit levels to each Lodging Business measured by calculating “Revenue per Available Room,” (RevPAR), as follows:

    Tier 1 Less than $50.00 Assessment = $2.15
    Tier 2 $50.00 to $74.99 Assessment = $2.80
    Tier 3 $75.00 to $99.99 Assessment = $3.15
    Tier 4 $100.00+ Assessment = $4.05

    The assessment rates will be increased each year by a factor of 1.5% with rates being rounded off to the nearest $.05.
    RevPAR is a widely used performance metric in the lodging industry. For the purposes of the District Plan, RevPAR is calculated by dividing the total guestroom revenue of a Lodging Business for the prior fiscal year by the room count, and by the number of days in the period being measured, in this case one year.

    Vacation Rental Management Companies are required to collect TMD but are assessed at the Tier 3 rate without calculation of RevPAR. (In the unusual case that a Privately Owned and Operated Vacation Rental is not zoned exclusively for residential purposes, such a Lodging Business would also be assessed at the base Tier 3 rate, also without calculation of RevPAR or other reference to rental rates or averages.) Starting July 1st, 2023, Vacation Rental Management Companies will increase to Tier 4.

    The full SCCTMD Plan can be found here:
    2022 SCCTMD Plan

    Forms for submitting SCCTMD Assessments can be found here:
  6. How are the assessments collected?
    Lodging property owners will calculate their individual assessments and remit them along with their Transient Occupancy Tax Reporting Form and payment.
  7. Can lodging businesses pass the assessments on to guests?
    The assessment must be shown on the each guest’s folio as “Countywide Tourism Assessment” and disclosed to the guest in advance, when they book the room.