Staying in a hotel in Kelowna will be a little more expensive next year.
That’s because Kelowna city council has given the green light to increase the city’s hotel room tax to three per cent from the current two per cent.
The hotel room tax, in place in Kelowna since 2004, generated nearly $1.85 million in the last year, and according to a city staff report, it will raise just under $3 million per year once the increase is fully implemented in 2017-18.
The money is used by Tourism Kelowna to market the city as a tourist destination and the additional funds will help expand its advertising reach to areas not currently being heavily marketed, but where Tourism Kelowna says there is great potential — Eastern Canada and and the Western U.S.
Tourism Kelowna’s Nancy Cameron said the area have great potential in large part because of direct and indirect flights to and from Kelowna International Airport.
In order to increase hotel room tax, which is administered by the city and passed on to Tourism Kelowna for use, a majority of hotel,motel and other accommodation operators must approve the move. Cameron said raising the tax by one per cent has the support of 55.4 per cent of local operators representing more then 80 per cent of the rooms available in the city.
Last year, the provincial government changed the legislation governing hotel room taxes in B.C. to allow municipalities to approve an one per cent increase.
Prior to approval, Mayor Colin Basran asked Cameron if Kelowna was alone in doing so. She said no.
The Tourism Kelowna CEO said while Vancouver is the only municipality that has now implemented the increase, several others have approved the move and are awaiting implementation. And others are at the same stage in the process as Kelowna.