JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

A tax that could impact tourism in our area has passed the first reading.

City commissioners voted 5-0 to pass an ordinance that would raise local hotel/motel tax from 5 to 8 percent.

The Johnson City Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors bureau have requested the increase.

Chamber President Gary Maybrey tells us the increase would help raise additional money for recreation fields near Winged Deer Park, add signs to help people get around Johnson City, and fix up Freedom Hall. "[We want to be] more competitive so that we can drive the economy. The visitors drive the economy, $213 million dollars visitors spent in the most recent number in just this county," he said.

In comparison, Maybrey tells us the City of Kingsport has its tax at 7 percent.