Posted on 09 May 2012 by Keith Lacey
A hotel tax that caused quite a bit of controversy in the Town of Osoyoos five years ago has quickly gained acceptance and will be around for years to come.
Town council officially approved the continued implementation of the Additional Hotel Room Tax (AHRT) for the next five years at Monday’s regular council meeting.
When adopted back in 2007, local hotel and motel owners narrowly voted 54 per cent in favour of charging an additional two per cent tax to each customer using local hotel and motel rooms, with the revenue generated going towards marketing and promotion of the Town of Osoyoos as a tourist destination through Destination Osoyoos.
The results speak for themselves as the hotel and motel owners voted 82 per cent in favour of continuing the program for another five years during a vote a couple of months ago, said Jim Newman, the town’s director of community development.
Osoyoos is one of only 14 accredited resort communities in the province and every other one charges the AHRT, said chief administrative officer Barry Romanko.
Even better news is the province provides matching funding for the money raised by the tax, which can be used by the resort municipalities for capital projects, said Romanko.
The hotel tax has not only provided Destination Osoyoos with funding to do a tremendous job in promoting and marketing the town as a premier tourist destination across B.C and all of Canada, but the matching funds have been used to help pay for more than $500,000 in capital projects since being introduced five years ago, said Romanko.
Projects on the books for 2012 using the matching provincial funding include upgrades to the town marina in Lions Park and replacing the washroom facility at Gyro Park, he said.
Mayor Stu Wells said the overwhelming support for the industry shows the AHRT is working and local motel and hotel owners are benefitting from more visitors coming to town due to successful marketing and promotion campaigns.
The AHRT extension runs until Dec. 31, 2017.