Hotel levy will boost New Brunswick tourism, says Moncton deputy mayor
Average tourism tax in other provinces in Atlantic Canada is 3%
Moncton's deputy mayor is welcoming a provincial plan to allow municipalities to impose a tourism tax on hotel guests.
A proposed amendment to the Local Government Act would mean guests at hotels and other places offering accommodation would have to pay a levy set by the city, town or village.
"This would allow us to become masters of our own destiny," Greg Turner said in an interview with Information Morning Moncton.
Tourism levies are now optional, and individual hotels do apply them in some places. But if the bill passes, and a municipality adopts a levy, it will become mandatory at all places in that area that offer accommodation.
- New Brunswick proposes tourism levy on hotel stays
- Province shocks tourist industry with rejection of hotel levy
- Hotel tourism levies in New Brunswick 'voluntary' tax, MLAs told
Rural communities and regional municipalities would also be allowed to impose levies, which would also apply to campgrounds.
The average tourism tax in other provinces in Atlantic Canada is three per cent.
The proposed New Brunswick legislation would let the municipality decide the rate under their own bylaws.
Deciding where to spend revenues
Revenues from the tourism tax would be filtered to an organization that would distribute the money.
Turner's vision is that this organization would consist of partners from across the southeastern region to determine the best way to distribute money.
The new tax will help promote tourism not just in Moncton but in the entire southeast region. He's hoping it will bring in more events, he said.
"It would put us on an equal footing," he said. "Quite frankly, we're a bit behind other jurisdictions."
Becoming more competitive
Committee members would also look at different concerts, sporting events and conventions happening in other jurisdictions.
He said the levy will allow Moncton and other communities in the area to be more competitive.
"We have tremendous accommodations, tremendous attractions and we want to be able to promote those much like most other communities do right across North America," he said.
Now, he said, Moncton is competing with jurisdictions from the West Coast to the East Coast, including Charlottetown and Halifax.
"People in the area, they know what their attractions are," he said. "They know what they want to promote. They know what they want to attract.
"They'll have the vehicle to do that."
He's hopeful the bill will be in place before summer and expects it will take a year to collect the revenue.
The tourism industry and municipalities have lobbied for the change for years.
The proposed amendment comes on the heels of last week's provincial budget, which included an $8 million cut to the Department of Tourism.
"The more tourists we can attract to our region as an organization, the stronger we will be," Turner said.