Sun Peaks applies to charge hotel tax 

Sun Peaks Resort is applying to the provincial government to charge an extra 2 per cent hotel tax on all rooms in the resort.

If approved, the tax on rooms in Sun Peaks will be on par with rooms in Whistler, Victoria and Vancouver, among others.

"It’s becoming more and more common," said Tourism Sun Peaks President Christopher Nicolson.

Currently all hotel rooms in B.C. are subject to an eight per cent hotel room tax. Most of that tax – 6.35 per cent – goes to the provincial government. The remainder – 1.65 per cent – funds Tourism B.C.

Almost 20 municipalities or regional districts have an added one or two per cent tax on top of the hotel tax, bringing the total hotel tax in those areas to 10 per cent.

The topped up funds are to be used by those municipalities or regional districts in developing their tourism industries.

Sun Peaks applied for the additional hotel tax this summer.

"We are hoping to have approvals and so forth so that implementation could start next November (2005)," said Nicolson.

"We wanted to have ample time so that we could advise our travel partners, wholesalers… so that they could work it into their tariffs."

Whistler was the first municipality to get the two per cent additional hotel tax in 1988, followed quickly by Vancouver and Victoria. Since then a number of other municipalities have followed suit, including Prince Rupert, Smithers and Rossland.

More recently Kelowna got the municipal hotel tax in January 2004.

The funds from the two per cent hotel tax in Sun Peaks will go towards marketing.

Nicolson explained that the money will go into a segregated fund, which would be administered by the Tourism Sun Peaks board as well as the regional district.

Whistler collects roughly $3.5 million in hotel tax.

In 2003 hotel tax revenues were down by six per cent from the previous year.

Whistler’s current municipal budget reflects a 10 per cent reduction in 2004 hotel tax revenues from the previous year.

Whistler has also looked at lobbying the provincial government for an increase in the municipal portion of the hotel tax as part of the financial tools, which were promised to the resort as part of the 2010 Olympic negotiations.


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