New funding program supports tourism sector
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour today announced a new program to promote B.C.’s tourism sector.
Fernie Alpine Resort.
As part of Budget 2015, the legislature approved a one per cent increase to the maximum Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) program rate allowed under the Provincial Sales Tax Act – to three per cent, from two per cent previously. This change to the MRDT rate is entirely voluntary and will only apply to municipalities, regional districts or eligible entities that request the increase, and whose applications are approved by government.
Communities that choose to increase their MRDT rate will also sponsor a new provincial Tourism Events Program.
The Tourism Events Program will help support the planning, marketing, and organization of provincially significant events and celebrations that offer a high tourism value. Events supported through this program will grow tourism revenues by increasing the number of visitors coming to B.C. Events could include arts, cultural or sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup or Canada Winter Games.
Tourism Vancouver is the first eligible organization to request the MRDT increase. Its new one per cent increase in the City of Vancouver will take effect Sept. 1.
The MRDT program has also been enhanced to include stronger accountability and reporting requirements for all communities receiving the MRDT.
Specific revisions to the MRDT program requirements include:
* Updated application requirements for new applications, renewals or increases to the MRDT rate;
* Enhanced reporting requirements for all MRDT communities and additional reporting requirements associated with communities requesting a three percent MRDT rate;
* Clarification on application and reporting timelines; and
* Revised forms and templates for applications and reporting.
These revisions will help ensure greater transparency in how the tax dollars are used, what they achieve, and how planned use of tax dollars aligns with local, regional and provincial goals, a July 31 Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour press release states.
The enhanced MRDT program requirements and an updated application package for municipalities, regional districts and eligible entities that wish to introduce or increase the MRDT rate of tax in their designated accommodation area will be available by Sept. 1.
More information on the Tourism Events Program will also be available by that date.
“We know hosting events is an important way to grow our tourism sector and the new Tourism Events Program is a great way to build on the successes of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Canada Winter Games and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. These investments mean we can further strengthen our reputation as a world-class event hosting destination and increase the number of visitors to B.C.,” said Bond.
Lead image: Lake Windermere. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW