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Boise’s auditorium district looks to invest to grow travel & events after COVID-19 eases

Future of Downtown

The Greater Boise Auditorium District hopes investments during the COVID-19-influenced downturn could help produced brighter days ahead.

GBAD, which operates the Boise Centre, gets its funding primarily from hotel room tax collections. Like nearly all other venues, its events for much of the spring quickly dried up earlier this month.

But Pat Rice, GBAD’s executive director, says he and his board of directors hope they can invest now for dividends later.

“We have dollars available in our budget to help do these things. Now is the time to act, now is not the time to be timid,” he said.

Those things include supporting filling a vacant sales manager position and putting together a marketing plan. The goal: to help bolster efforts to bring conventions and other events to Boise.

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“It’s about the community and doing the right thing to support our tourism partners – the hotels particularly,” Rice said.

Rice said he hopes to go to the GBAD board at its April meeting with a plan to help market Boise. It could include partners like the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau and Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Rice said GBAD discussed the idea briefly at its March meeting last week. He said board members expressed enthusiasm.

“We are in a position to help, and that’s what we are going to do. For people who are cooped up right now and want to travel, we want to say ‘hey, come visit Boise,'” he said. “Let’s not wait until the governor or mayor or health department say it’s safe to start travel to start working on it. We should be working on it now so that when the CDC says it’s safe to travel, we have messaging out there.”

He said getting a plan in place will help send a signal to the local travel community.

“It’s about letting the tourism and hotel community know, the District is trying to encourage marketing and events. People aren’t hunkered down.”

GBAD set its next meeting for April 20th.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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