A hotel and motel room tax for Hope and surrounding areas in the works for several years is one step closer to being implemented.
The latest attempt at a tax on hotel and motel rooms has ‘every chance at being successful’, said District of Hope chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky, as it has received the go ahead from owners of over 50 per cent of the hotel and motel rooms Hope. The tax, officially called a municipal regional district tax (MRDT), will cover Hope and Electoral Areas A, B, D and E of the Fraser Valley Regional District, which includes Bridal Falls, Boston Bar and Yale, as well as Area H of the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District, where Manning Provincial Park is located.
“The MRDT would be established as a two per cent room tax collected by the hoteliers in the district and largely paid, not by district citizens, but clearly those who pass through,” Fortoloczky said. “We are one of the only, if not the only, district in the Fraser Valley that doesn’t have this tax.”
The room tax would be applied to nightly stays at hotel and motel rooms as well as rooms sold through websites like Airbnb. Any property which earns more than $2,500 from room rentals each year would be subject to the tax, a briefing note to council stated. Stays of 27 days or longer would not be taxed.
Fortoloczky said it was highly unlikely tourists would avoid stopping in Hope and area because of the hotel tax, as it is a small added cost and surrounding communities have already instituted their own MRDT.
AdvantageHOPE would be the recipient of the tax earnings to market the area, with one of the main goals being to grow tourism into a year-round industry. Approximately $80,000 could be generated, according to a district fact sheet.
Fortoloczky pointed out Chilliwack as an example, whose hotel tax provides $275,000 of a total $770,000 tourism marketing budget. Abbotsford and Squamish have their own taxes, which supply 50 per cent of their budgets for tourism marketing.
“Those are monies we’re currently foregoing,” Fortoloczky said. According to a district fact sheet, 54 communities in B.C. collect this tax and use it to invest over $28 million into marketing their communities.
Hope’s Mayor and council voted Nov. 26 to send a letter to the Ministry of Finance in support of the tax. Electoral directors are also being asked to send letters of support.
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