Local hotel owners upset over ad campaign spending



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Some Daytona Beach area hotel owners are criticizing an effort to promote winter tourism.

A campaign called Holidays at Daytona Beach is paid for with tax dollars, but hotel owners are upset with the way the money is being spent.

The ad featured an ice skating rink which is in the center of the Daytona Beach tourist district, but hotel owners from Ormond Beach south to Ponce Inlet also help raise taxes used to fund the ads and they said they don't think it helps their hotels.

"I don't think it really does us a lot of good down here in the Shores. I think the issue is spending so much money on one thing in the middle of Daytona," said Daytona Beach Shores hotel owner Dave Hands.

The Halifax Area Advertising Authority paid for the billboard, but its revenue stream comes from tourism taxes collected by hotels in and around Daytona Beach.

Hands said he's not against the ice rink, but said it only benefits the hotels and shops right next to it.

"We take 6 percent and we give it to them. We're collecting all the tax. I think we should be getting something out of it as well. I don't think all of the money should be put into the center of Daytona," Hands said.

The CEO of the advertising authority said the campaign was created to promote winter tourism for the entire area.

The ice rink opened in November and Hands said it hadn't increased his business.

"I've got no objections on putting the money into the ice rink sort of thing, but it's just, honest to goodness, I think we should be involved," Hands said.

2012 was the second year of ice skating near the beach. The rink's success could determine if it returns in 2013.