Tourists face hotel tax increase next year as Tourism Kamloops looks to increase marketing reach | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tourists face hotel tax increase next year as Tourism Kamloops looks to increase marketing reach

September 16, 2016 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Tourists will be paying more to stay at a hotel in Kamloops next summer if a planned room tax increase is approved.

Tourism Kamloops CEO Beverley DeSantis says a one per cent increase in the hotel tax will raise about $400,000.

The toursim agency will be asking the city to approve the increase next week after the Kamloops Accomodation Association members gave their suport through a vote.

“It’s the levy that goes onto every motel or hotel stay,” she says.

The Municipal Regional District Tax is paid on hotel and motel stays in the city, but not at hostels or Air BNB, she says. It’s the main source of funding for the city’s tourism agency.

The new funding will primarily go towards the marketing budget.

“We would then market on behalf of the stakeholders of Kamloops,” she says.

While the accommodation association supports the tax increase, city council needs to approve it, before sending it to the province for final approval. DeSantis says the tax increase won’t show up on bills until June 2017.

The increase won’t be just in Kamloops DeSantis says, as other markets are pursuing the same increase after Destination B.C., the provincial crown corporation overseeing the tax, raised the limit to three per cent.

The model is a fairly common one, DeSantis says, as it allows the municipality to collect from visitors to the city who are using city funded infrastructure like roads.

If approved, the marketing budget will see a boost just after a strong summer tourism season, DeSantis says. The accommodation and tourism sectors have seen an increase in visitors and revenue this year.

The accommodation association gave 70 per cent approval to the levy, though DeSantis says there was actually more support. Due to the nature of the vote and deadlines, the tourism agency wasn’t able to collect all the votes, but says to her knowledge only two locations voiced opposition to the tax increase.

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