Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)

Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

Travel Penticton has a plan for the future that would see them evolve beyond their current role in the business community.

Director Thom Tischik and Cadence Strategies consultant Suzanne Denbak presented the plan to Penticton’s council on June 15.

The core of the plan for the future is to turn Travel Penticton from being solely a promotional machine, into an entity with more industry ties and involvement.

As part of that, Travel Penticton is looking to establish a convention bureau, which would be funded by an increase to the municipal and regional district tax (MRDT) which is provincially set and charged to short-term stays.

The aim of the bureau would be to grow the community’s attractiveness for conferences, exhibits and events, and to serve as a single point of communication with travellers and prospective events. It would also serve as a coordination hub between businesses in the community.

An increase to that hotel tax rate is also part of Travel Penticton’s plans, with a request for it to be raised from two per cent to three per cent. That would come as part of the scheduled renewal on the tax that is set to come in 2022.

READ MORE: Penticton tourism recovery years away

In addition to the convention bureau, part of that increase would also potentially go towards funding affordable housing in the community.

To raise that rate, Travel Penticton would need 51 per cent of rooms and 51 per cent of properties with four or more rooms to give their approval. Travel Penticton has already begun gathering signatures and has found support in the community on their efforts.

Travel Penticton was seeking a letter of support for the renewal from the city and to be designated as the recipient of the MRDT funds.

If the designated recipient status is granted, Travel Penticton is planning to spend the next two months to finish its five-year plan from 2022 to 2026.

Following the presentation, council did not make a decision on whether to send the letter, instead deciding to digest the presention.

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Tourism