As the summer travel season approaches, Tourism London wants to see some action on implementing the city’s new hotel tax.
City council voted to implement the four per cent provincial levy in January but also asked staff to report back on the specifics of rolling it out.
Revenue from the tax would be split between the city and Tourism London, each standing to collect between $1 million and $2 million.
John Winston, the general manager of Tourism London, says they’ve recommended the city use its portion of the money to fund updates of existing facilities like a back-of-house expansion at Budweiser Gardens and improvements to the convention centre.
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“They can do whatever they wish to do, but I think the smart thing to do is apply this funding, don’t put it in general revenue,” said Winston.
“We did that with the casino money we received, but what has that really done? It’s helped reduce our tax rate, but you’d like to see some cost benefit as a result of the investment being made.”
Winston says Tourism London’s portion of the cash would go towards promoting the city as a destination for leisure travel, music and culture and sports and entertainment.
“We’ve recommended that the city give consideration to a tourism development infrastructure fund,” said Winston.
“The money would be used to improve our facilities, to make them event- and market-ready, to improve those facilities for our users in the community, but also give us the opportunity to attract new events to London.”
Winston says expansions at Budweiser Gardens and the London Convention Centre could be very beneficial in the long run.
He says they would like to see some movement by May.
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