Stan Rosen, owner of Hampton Terrace in Lenox, was awarded a Greylock Award at the BVB’s 71st Annual Meeting on Tuesday evening at the Berkshire Museum. The awards are given to "tourism professionals who are nominated by their peers as having reached the highest peak in their profession." Rosen was honored as the "Outstanding Industry Contributor."
The Berkshire Visitors Bureau consists of over 750 member organizations, of which over 100 are lodging properties. The Bureau is the sole county-wide marketing agency for the Berkshires, which attract over 2.5 million visitors per year, with an annual economic impact of over half a billion dollars. Rosen is chairman of the Lodging Committee and a Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee, representing Central County.
Rosen was recognized for his leadership position on the proposed occupancy tax increases offered to each Berkshire town. Reduced state revenues have caused the Governor to slash revenue-sharing with local towns, while at the same time giving each community an opportunity to raise lodging taxes on visitors from 4% to 6%. The state receives an additional 5.7%. Rosen led a consortium of properties, including Canyon Ranch, Red Lion Inn, Cranwell, Yankee Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn in Lee, Devonfield Inn and Topia Inn, to support the tax…as long as a significant percent is annually reinvested in marketing the Berkshires outside of the county.
At the same time that local communities received cuts, the Commonwealth also slashed state-wide tourism marketing budgets by 70%, resulting in an annual loss to the Berkshire Visitors Bureau of $350,000…with more cuts promised by the Governor. Rosen’s "Statement of Position," subsequently affirmed by a larger forum of lodging properties last month, is that the loss in tourism marketing dollars will have a more profound negative impact on tourism than a 2 % rise in taxes…and that if these taxes are going to be collected by the efforts of lodging owners and managers, then they should have a "say" about where some of the money is spent. The group is asking for 7.5% of total taxes collected to be reinvested in out-of-county marketing.
To this point, Lenox and Pittsfield have passed the tax increase, with a promise to make a "significant investment" in marketing. Lee and Great Barrington are considering the tax increase as well. Rosen and his group are working to assure that the tax increases, and their partial commitment to marketing are evenly applied throughout the county.
Mayor James M. Roberto of Pittsfield received the "Extraordinary Leadership Award" for his significant role in the resurgence of Downtown Pittsfield, including the restoration of the Colonial Theater, relocation of Barrington Stage Company to the North Street area, creation of the $23 million Beacon Cinema, upgrades to the Berkshire Museum, and fostering a general sense of optimism that has attracted numerous new businesses to streets that have long been depressed. James Lyon of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood received the "Outstanding Service" Greylock Award.