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Quesnel council supports joining regional marketing program

Quesnel council declined to join the Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association in 2018
City council met on Tuesday, April 5. (Photo courtesy of City of Quesnel)

The city of Quesnel is supporting bringing the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association’s (CCCTA) Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) to the city. Councillors unanimously voted to support the measure during a meeting on Tuesday, April 5.

The MRDT is a three per cent tax on short-term hotel rooms including bed and breakfasts and online temporary rentals. Campgrounds are not included.

The CCCTA began collecting taxes on hotel rooms in the region beginning in 2018, excluding properties in Wells and Quesnel. Quesnel declined to join their MRDT at the time, instead trying to start their own marketing program using a similar model. That proposed tax was voted down by local hoteliers.

“We came very close, but we didn’t quite meet the benchmark,” Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson said, noting he will reach out to any hotel which supported previous MRDT efforts and encourage them to support the CCCTA.

“The CCCTA will be in a similar situation as to what we were in. They’re going to have to get buy in from Quesnel, but against a different ceiling.”

Since starting, the CCCTA’s collected and then invested $2.5 million using MRDT dollars.

The city can also receive funding from the CCCTA for projects, including for developing a destination to be marketed. The city of Williams Lake got help marketing and developing their mountain bike trail system.

READ MORE: New development on the horizon for Quesnel’s Wonderland Trail Network

“CCCTA was destination-specific, and we didn’t have (destinations),” Simpson said.

“That is shifting and changing… We now have a product, the trails, but we don’t have a tourism product that goes with that.”

Before formally supporting the CCCTA coming to Quesnel, council heard a presentation from Sydney Redpath, the association’s director of marketing.

She told council before the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels in the CCCTA area had seen booking revenue go up by seven per cent.

FROM OUR ARCHIVES (2018): Accommodation tax approved for Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

“Throughout COVID-19 these dollars have been especially important, as the majority of our businesses saw their revenues, and thus their marketing dollars, disappear overnight,” Redpath said.

“We have been able to keep marketing on half of our businesses in our communities.”

The MRDT’s must be renewed every five years. If approved, Quesnel hotels could re-evaluate their participation in the program in 2028.

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