Room tax idea moving forward

  • Jun. 14, 2010 8:00 a.m.

Hotel owners on the islands are receptive to the idea of a new room tax that would be used to promote Haida Gwaii, says the executive director of the Misty Isles Economic Development Society. Travis Glasman said society staff have been talking to hotel owners about the proposed two percent additional hotel room tax, and will be continuing that consultation until early July. “It’s going surprisingly well,” he said. “We have 100 percent support to date.” So far staff have spoken to hotel owners in Sandspit, Masset and some in Queen Charlotte. The provincial government allows municipalities or areas to put the additional room tax in place if at least half the hotel owners agree. The proceeds of the tax are then used to promote the area to tourists. Mr. Glasman estimated the tax could raise $80,000 to $120,000 a year. The economic development society would use the money to undertake marketing activities to promote Haida Gwaii “on the world stage”, he said, like hosting travel writers, maintaining its “go Haida Gwaii” website, advertising widely, printing brochures, and attending consumer shows. But before the tax can be implemented, MIEDS must get the support of local hotels and submit a proposal to the provincial government. Mr. Glasman said he’s hoping to get that done by early July, with an eye to having the tax approved and in place by January next year. Only accommodations with four or more rooms would be affected. Small bed and breakfasts or hotels with less than four rooms would not charge the room tax. Mr. Glasman also clarified that the tax would be paid by visitors, not the hotel. On a $100 hotel bill, he said, it would amount to $2.