Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Community Sustainability Fund helps address visitation challenges

by Nick Polumbus
| May 3, 2023 1:00 AM

As a ski town located next door to a national park, Whitefish and its economy depend on visitation. Folks who travel here to eat, shop, stay and play outdoors sustain our local businesses and provide jobs for residents.

But we know this visitation presents challenges during the peak summer months. This is why Explore Whitefish — also known as the Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau — works to encourage good behavior and respect for our community.

An association of about 145 member businesses, Explore Whitefish promotes visitation during our slower shoulder seasons. No promotional efforts go into summer.

About 55 of those member businesses support this mission by collecting a voluntary 1% fee on lodging, food and transportation purchases. The fees go into the Community Sustainability Fund.

Now I want to provide a couple of facts to address some recent misinformation that has been shared.

First, the fee is voluntary. Customers may opt out at the time of purchase or ask to be reimbursed later.

Second, the fee is not a tax and has nothing to do with our city government. While many Montana communities have formed business improvement districts and imposed mandatory taxes, Explore Whitefish lets businesses and customers choose whether to support its mission.

We must invest in solutions that make our visitor-dependent economy work for everyone. The Community Sustainability Fund is one such solution, and I encourage folks to visit ExploreWhitefish.com to learn more about it.

Nick Polumbus

President, Whitefish Mountain Resort

Former Board Member, Explore Whitefish

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