PEI

P.E.I. lowers tourism licence fees

After years of steady increases to the annual licensing fees Island accommodation operators have to pay, the tourism department is dropping those fees starting in 2019.

Department says big jump in number of licensed operators means it can afford to lower fees

Large hotels will see fees drop more than 20 per cent. (Google Street View)

After years of steady increases to the annual licensing fees Island accommodations operators have to pay, the tourism department is dropping those fees starting in 2019. 

On average, operators will see their fees drop about 20 per cent next year.  Smaller accommodations with up to four units, for example, will see their annual fee go from $218 to $155. 

"Any time we can help businesses and support them, so they can keep investments in their pocket, reinvest in their property, make their product better, or increase advertising, will help business growth altogether," said Chris Palmer, P.E.I.'s tourism minister. 

Chris Palmer, P.E.I.'s tourism minister, says with a big increase in the number of operators paying licensing fees, his department can afford to lower those fees. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

More operators, lower fees 

It's a different approach than the tourism department has been taking with its licensing fees.  From 2012-2015, some fees shot up more than 100 per cent, followed by incremental increases over the past few years. 

But Palmer says his department can now afford to lower the fee, because there are more operators paying it. 

Now that we have a few more of those operators and there's additional revenue coming in, we're able to cover off those costs.- Chris Palmer, P.E.I. Tourism Minister 

There are about 1500 licensed accommodations on P.E.I. That's 500 more than there were just two years ago.

"When we had a lower volume of accommodations on P.E.I., the licensing fees were higher to cover off the staffing, and all the training and everything we had to do around the licensing," said Palmer.  "Now that we have a few more of those operators and there's additional revenue coming in, we're able to cover off those costs."

Palmer says the jump in the number of licensed operators is partly do to more Islanders renting out their homes through Airbnb and similar sites, and complying with the licensing rules. 

For all operators, the fees will drop next year and hold through to 2021.

                                                                                                                                                                                   
  Tourism licensing fees 

2018

2019

New Property Inspection Fee

$265

$180

Re-Inspection Fee

$250

$250

Licensing fees - Fixed Roof: 1-4 units 

$218

$155

Licensing Fees - Fixed Roof: 5 or more units

$328 plus $8.50 per unit

$250 plus $6.50 per unit

Campgrounds: 1-100 sites

$246

$210

Campgrounds: 101-250 sites

$355

$300

Campgrounds: 251-500 sites

$382

$325

Campgrounds: More than 500 sites

$491

$415

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