A three per cent tax on accommodations, such as hotel rooms, is approved for the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast area and will take effect May 1.
It’s the result of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association’s (CCCTA) application for funds through the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) program, to support tourism recovery within the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region.
The CCCTA is working with the Ministry of Finance to ensure accommodation providers are aware of how to properly collect and remit the tax. The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is one of the last regions in B.C. to impose the tax.
Only fixed-room accommodation providers with four rooms or more are required to charge the tax. For those who operate through Airbnb, the tax will be collected by Airbnb corporate.
The additional funds will be managed by a local tourism industry marketing committee, and it is expected the MRDT, which is applicable until 2023, will “stimulate injection of approximately $1 million in new marketing funds annually to drive more visitation to the region,” according to a release by the CCCTA.
The funds come as a much-needed marketing boost after the 2017 wildfires which resulted in $55 million in lost revenue to tourism-related businesses, according to the CCCTA.
“These funds along with other generous investments by our tourism industry partners will go a long way to ensuring our key markets are informed that the exceptional visitor experiences provided by our region are available for the 2018 tourism season and beyond,” says CCCTA CEO Amy Thacker.
In anticipation of the approval, the CCCTA was awarded $225,000 for the coming fiscal year (April 1) to fund marketing visitor experiences in the region.
Back in March of 2017, 75 percent of the rooms in the Cariboo Regional District had signed on and 65 per cent for the entire Cariboo Chilcotin Coast area, according to Thacker.
Len Doucette, the then manager of the Spruce Hill Resort & Spa, said he was excited about what the marketing money would be able to do when the tax was still in the proposal stage in February 2017.
“The extra three per cent is going to be going towards marketing and it will be marketing the whole area in tourism and I think that is something that is long overdue and those extra marketing dollars are definitely going to help the area as it will boost the tourism,” said Doucette
“Pretty much every jurisdiction within B.C. already has that three per cent so I don’t think it’s going to be anything that the people aren’t going to expect or be surprised to see.”
With files from Max Winkelman