The province has approved the City of Campbell River’s application for a three per cent hotel tax.
The tax, which will be applied to sales of short term accommodation, including hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, cottages and cabins, will go into effect on March 1.
Mayor Andy Adams said the hotel tax will help take some of the financial pressure off the city when it comes to tourism initiatives.
“This tax paid by visiting guests will provide a significant source of funding to support tourism promotion, especially given all the major events planned for 2017,” said Adams in a release. The city is playing host to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention (AVICC) in April, as well as the BC Elders Gathering in July and Tribal Journeys in August.
The hotel tax is expected to generate in the range of $250,000 annually which matches the amount the city will continue to contribute each year for local tourism marketing, programs and projects.
City Manager Deborah Sargent said when the city submitted its hotel tax application to the province in the summertime, that staff included a petition, signed by a majority of hotel and motel operators in support of the tax.
The initiative is part of a new five-year tourism strategy developed by the city and its consultants.
A new Tourism Advisory Committee, made up of the following members of the public: Clint Buchholz, Harley Elias, Erin Neely, Wayne Nikolaisen, Tom Olsen and Carly Pereboom, will guide the strategy. Non-voting volunteers on the committee include Heather Gordon Murphy (representing the downtown business area), Dave Hamilton from the Chamber of Commerce, Dean Prentice, Jonathan Shead and Sukhy Bains (all representing accommodation providers) and Rose Klukas, the city’s economic development officer.
Visitor centre on the move
As City Manager Deborah Sargent indicated to the Mirror in October, the Visitor Information Centre will be relocated from its current, downtown location for a short period of time while the city transitions to its new model for delivering tourism and economic development functions.
Visitor Information services will temporarily be moved to the Museum at Campbell River starting in January.
“Similar to last year, when we temporarily closed the downtown facility for renovations during January – the slowest time of year for visitor traffic – Visitor Information Services will continue uninterrupted,” Klukas said in a news release. “Paid museum staff will have all necessary tools, supplies and training and this continued service will be provided at no increased cost to the city. The added profile for the museum will be a benefit for promoting that facility.”
The city says that notices will go up at the facility in Tyee Plaza directing visitors to the museum and updates will be posted on Campbell River travel websites, campbellriver.ca and on social media.
Washrooms and the Art Gallery, housed in the same building as the Visitor centre, will remain open during the temporary relocation.