Additional hotel room tax abandoned

After consultation with local operators, Advantage Hope has decided to stop advocating for the additional two per cent tax.

Advantage Hope’s vision is to be the catalyst of sustainability and a diversified economy, providing world class quality of life for the community of Hope.

Tourism remains an important part of our local economy, filling rooms, restaurants, parks, grocery stores, and gas stations with thousands of travelers each year.

We have been tasked with facilitating the implementation of the District of Hope’s tourism plan and economic development plan, and look forward to assisting with the creation of a healthy and dynamic tourism sector in Hope.

With this in mind, Advantage Hope met with representatives from all 19 operating local motels this summer to advocate the adoption of a two per cent additional hotel room tax in Hope. This potential funding source, currently utilized by over 50 B.C. communities, was identified in the tourism plan as a catalyst for tourism marketing and infrastructure initiatives that would benefit not only motel owners, but all businesses that enjoy the benefits of more visitors to our region.

During many face-to-face talks, an information forum with a representative from the Merritt Hoteliers Association (which has implemented the additional tax), and emails and phone conversations, it became clear that a majority of Hope motel owners do not currently support this initiative. Respecting the decision of the majority of these business owners, Advantage Hope will cease to advocate for the additional tax at this time. We will, however, continue to seek alternative solutions that will work for our tourism sector and realize the objectives of the Tourism Plan.

To that end, we are excited to announce that the first meeting of the Tourism Advisory Committee will be held on Nov. 22. This meeting will be co-chaired by Advantage Hope and Inge Wilson of Destination Hope & Beyond Services, and will include board-appointed representatives from restaurants, motels, and the arts community, among others. This key committee will provide insight and advice on the priorities that will best advance the goals of the tourism plan, help to identify partnership and funding opportunities, and give direction for specific initiatives that our organization can either champion or support in our community.

To keep up on Advantage Hope’s activities, check out our Facebook page where you can sign up for the newsletter (AdvantageHOPE), follow us on Twitter (@advantageHOPE), or watch for the new website in 2012:  www.AdvantageHope.ca.

Tyler Mattheis

Executive Director, Advantage Hope