Support the Zoo Hotel Program
As a member of the hospitality industry in our area, here is an opportunity to be at the forefront of something great and be a leading business in our community.
What is it?
Support the Zoo Hotel Program is a donation program specifically designed for the hotels in the market area of the forthcoming zoo and aquarium.
How does it work?
A hotel pledges a small fixed fee per booked room per night. A potential name for the fee could be "Z&A Development Fee". The hotel would collect this fee and at monthly or quarterly intervals donate the collected amount to North Alabama Zoological Society (NALZS) to help in the building of the zoo and aquarium. The hotel program is similar to collecting a lodging tax, except 1) the hotel, as opposed to a government body, gets to determine the amount for the fee; 2) it is totally voluntary and the hotel can remove the fee if a customer objects; and 3) unlike a tax, the hotel gets to claim a tax deduction because NALZS is a 501(c)(3) charity. But like a lodging tax, which is often used in our region, the Support the Zoo Hotel Program provides necessary funds to support current and future tourism project like the zoo and aquarium.
Is this above board?
Yes. A similar approach was used in Decatur to help bring about Point Mallard Park. NALZS has also contacted the State of Alabama Attorney General's Office to see if there are any requirements or required registrations for either NALZS or the hotels in the program. The Attorney General's Office indicated there are none. As with any donation, NALZS suggests the donor contact their tax advisor if the donor has specific questions in relation to their tax circumstances.
Why does NALZS need the help from the hotels?
The site for the zoo lies within the Limestone County jurisdiction along I-65. As was noted above, initiatives such as lodging taxes are typically employed to help fund tourism projects. Note that the benefits and reach of the zoo and aquarium are regional and not localized to a portion of a county or city. However, the location is not in any specific city limits. At this time the municipalities have told NALZS it would be "a very heavy lift" to try and get a tax initiative for something outside their city limits regardless of the benefits. We are working with the municipalities and legislators to help make it easier for them to participate in regional tourism projects. That will take time. In the meantime, the hotels can do something they can't - Act Today! Your donation will help us speed up the project and put funding towards dedicated and needed resources.
What are the benefits to the hotels?
The first benefit has already been mentioned - the donation is tax deductible. The next benefit is the chance to be a business leader and leave a legacy in our community. NALZS will take every opportunity in its publications and social media to make sure the community knows who is helping us lead the charge towards bringing a world-class zoo and aquarium to our communities. There will also be other benefits once the zoo is built, some being economic since zoos tend to be one of the most visited attractions in their states. For other benefits, we have learned all organizations are unique. We are very interested in hearing ideas you might have where we could help your organization.
Let's Work Together
The North Alabama Zoological Park (working name) is meant to be the zoo and aquarium that the community built. We will build it together.
For more information, please contact us at 256-850-7466 or development@NALZS.org