A four per cent tax on local hotel rooms will benefit Barrie residents in the long run. A newly introduced Municipal Accommodation Tax allows cities and towns to enforce a 4% tax on hotels, motels, and inns, with 50% of the funds collected under this tax to be given to Tourism Barrie.
Tourism Barrie, as the city’s tourism entity, would be expected to support strategic initiatives with the City under this commitment, and how the money is put to use will be under scrutiny with regular reports expected over the coming years. After a three year stint, the impact of the tax money will be reviewed, with further recommendations by City Hall expected at that time. It is being suggested a review of less traditional accommodations like AirBNB would come then.
A Tourism Reserve Fund is expected to be created for the City’s share of the tax, and put towards new tourism marketing, product development, strategic initiatives, and future tourism studies.
Monday night’s meeting also saw a tourism working group struck, with aims to guide the process. The working group comes with six City Hall representatives, along with a voice from the Barrie BIA, Barrie Hotel Association, and Tourism Barrie, with input expected from the city’s Sports Events and Facilities Committee.
The Province of Ontario issued a regulation in November of 2017 called the Transient Accommodation Regulation, providing the necessary provisions for municipalities across Ontario to implement a Municipal Accommodation Tax. This tax would apply to all transient accommodations within a city’s limits, for all says under 30 days. Barrie joins cities like Toronto and Ottawa in implementing such a tax.