Hotel occupancy rates in Georgetown were at a 25% occupancy in April, down from 71% in April of last year, Finance Director Leigh Wallace said in a presentation to City Council on May 12.

Hotels were at 20% occupancy at the end of March and early April of this year, down from 85% at the same time last year. They were at a 55% occupancy in mid-March, down from an 85% percent occupancy rate at that time last year.

Recent revenue receipts are down 80%-90% as compared to the same time last year, Wallace said.

The total annual budgeted hotel occupancy tax revenue was $1.3 million. To date, $587,925 has been received, but a major decline is assumed for the remainder of fiscal year 2019-20, Wallace said. Now, the year-end projected total is $710,000, which is $590,000 under budget.

Other than events, the hotel occupancy tax is the tourism department's main source of revenue.

“The Convention and Visitors Bureau staff believe day trips will resume first, and that is our prime audience [anyway],” Wallace said. “So we will spend marketing dollars there.”

Staff estimates needing to use $340,000 of the $1.2 million tourism fund capital reserves to cover payroll and reduced operations for the rest of FY 2019-20, and using that amount will leave the 90-day reserve of $200,000 intact, Wallace said.

She added that hotel occupancy rates and receipts will continue to be monitored, and if the situation does not improve as the months go on, city staff will come to council to have another conversation about rethinking a long-term approach.