To the editor:
In an effort to drum up support for the Tourism Kelowna pedestrian centre on the waterfront we have been getting a marketing blitz of statistics for 2016. While we had growth in visitors and their spending, up to $340 million, we are spun a bigger headline that the total benefit was a fanciful $1.25 billion. Marketing their marketing. And mayor Basran likes to talk up our billion dollar tourism industry.
Other city’s report actual spending only, not speculative spin. San Francisco tourism reports $9 billion actually spent, not that it is a $27 billion dollar industry.
With that kind of revenue though one would think that local tourist businesses would be willing to fund their own marketing to attract more tourists. Oh no. There is a more appealing method. Tax the tourist and tax them some more come April 1.
Is that enough? No they have to have 10 per cent of their budget paid for local taxpayers.
Is that enough? No they want waterfront land for their information centre even though around North America visits to these places is plummeting.
Is that enough? Are they willing to pay market value for the rent? No they are going to pay 15 cents per month for a $7.5 million property.
Is that enough? No, according to the land lease they have the option to ask local taxpayers to assist them in getting financing for the building.
Please write to city hall and tell them how much we support tourism but they have to also support themselves and can start by staying off our waterfront.
Don Henderson, Kelowna