Hotel tax for Salmon Arm?

Shuswap Tourism could have additional funds in the next few years to promote Salmon Arm and area.

Mayor Nancy Cooper told 75 local Chamber of Commerce members at her annual state-of-the-city address last week that a hotel tax could generate $136,000 this year and $186,000 in 2018.

“This will go directly to tourism promotion and related projects,” said Cooper.

Salmon Arm contracts Shuswap Tourism for promotion of the region.

Of the 10 Salmon Arm hotels that represent 99 per cent of the city’s room capacity, nine agreed to the two per cent tax which has been approved by city council and is awaiting final approval from the province, which only requires 51 per cent involvement to consider a hotel tax.

Barring any unforeseen issues, the tax would be implemented April 1. The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society will administer the funds collected by the province through a five-year municipal regional district business plan.

Cooper said the city will also be taking a closer look at unregulated accommodation options.

“Our hotels pay taxes and have to follow rules, so it’s unfair competition when others don’t have to,” said Cooper, referring to a sharp increase in Airbnb listings in the Shuswap. A search of the popular bed and breakfast site turned up more than 300 listings for the area.

Cooper wouldn’t say what action is being considered, but that it is on council’s radar.

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