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Tourism group’s request for funds denied

Directors of San Diego’s Tourism Promotion Corp. on Thursday rejected the La Jolla Destination Marketing Alliance request for more than $1 million to help attract people to the area’s hotels.

Six of the seven board members present at the meeting aboard the Bahia Belle on Mission Bay voted not to approve the request from the group, which represents 16 hotels and several other hotels and restaurants in the area encompassed by the Village, the University Towne Center area and Torrey Pines Mesa.

Richard Bartell, of the La Jolla Sheraton who did not vote because he is hotel owner in the area seeking funds and also an Alliance member, said following the meeting that he didn’t know where the group would find funding to support its efforts.

“These are very difficult times for the hospitality industry, and La Jolla has been particularly hard hit,” he said.

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The group had asked for $1,048,050 - the largest amount sought by any of the 15 groups seeking funds from the city-authorized organization that works to increase the number of hotel visitors to the city at large. It also received the lowest tally after each director submitted independent rankings.

In all, the Promotion Corp. agreed to allocate $2,128,000 to seven organizations to support activities ranging from the Holiday and Poinsettia Bowls to the Body World exhibit coming to the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Deborah Marengo, Alliance president, could not be reached for comment on Thursday evening.