Dallas hotels have agreed to an extra tax on guests to return Big D to the top 5 in conventions and tourism.
The 2 percent tax would be charged at all hotels with 100 rooms or more to raise about $10 million each year for extra tourism promotion. It comes on top of the 13 percent room tax already charged in Dallas.
A Dallas City Council committee unanimously endorsed the plan Monday.
"I also want to thank all the hotel owners who have the wisdom and the vision to see what this is going to mean both to them and to the city," Councilwoman Ann Margolin said.
Dallas was in the top 5 decades ago, but other cities have expanded convention facilities and done some aggressive marketing since then.
Dallas now ranks seventh in conventions and 11th in leisure travel, according to Phillip Jones, president of the Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
"We have a great message," Jones said. "We have $15 billion in new development across the city of Dallas, new arts venues, new sports venues, new cultural activities, new shopping venues, great restaurants, great hotels. And we need to get that message out because a lot of people who have not been to Dallas in recent years are in for a very pleasant surprise."
No. 1 Las Vegas spends about $95 million per year on tourism promotion.
Jones said San Diego has gone from about No. 20 to No. 4 with aggressive advertising that appears on television and newspapers in North Texas.
"And that's what we want to do for Dallas in the future," Jones said.
More visitors could send new money through the local economy in many ways and produce more jobs.
Taxi drivers outside the new Dallas Omni Convention Center Hotel said they were thrilled with the idea.
"Absolutely -- I'd make more money, and then I'd spend it right back here in Dallas," said driver Lori Huff.