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City sets new all-time high in tourism-related tax collections

OXFORD —Tourism-related taxes hit an all-time high in April in the city of Oxford.

Figures presented at a recent Oxford Tourism Council meeting showed the hotel and motel tax for April 2012 climbed 27 percent compared to the month of April in 2011 with $22,838 in taxes collected.

April tends to be one of the community’s biggest months for tourism in the spring due to two local events, according to The Oxford Eagle. The annual Grove Bowl and the Double Decker Arts Festival draw thousands of visitors to Oxford and the University of Mississippi.

The already-strong tax figures could jump even higher in coming years with the addition of several new hotels.

Chan Patel, the owner of the Hampton Inn in Oxford, is building a new hotel near the Oxford Conference Center and he has purchased land to build a boutique-style hotel.

On West Jackson Avenue, Bruce Patel of Tupelo plans to build a small, boutique hotel.

Some of the tourism council members questioned whether Oxford could support so many new hotels.

“We are getting reports from hotel owners that they average about a 50 to 60 percent occupancy,” Mary-Kathryn Herrington, director of tourism, said.

Council member Jim McCauley said a 50 to 60 percent occupancy rate year-round is a pretty good number.

“At 50 or 55, it pays your bills and you’re making some money,” he said.

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