© TC Media - Nigel Armstrong
Don Cudmore, executive director of Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. speaks with an owner of a bed and breakfast business during a meeting in November.
The group that represents tourism operators has recommended the province not go ahead with a tourism levy after concerns were raised about bringing it in at the same time as the HST.
Don Cudmore, the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I.’s executive director, said the group did 10 presentations to get feedback about a potential levy and see if there was support for it. That happened in November and December, but Cudmore said there were a few issues that came up.
“If there was a levy to be put in place there was a concern that perhaps not doing it at the time of the HST transition,” he said.
There are already levies in place in the province’s two cities to help with tourism marketing.
In Charlottetown, there is a three per cent levy per night while stays in Summerside have an additional two per cent charge.
The proposed provincewide levy would have been three per cent with the money going into a fund that would be handled by the regional tourism associations.
But the provincial government is bringing in HST this spring, which Cudmore said some in the tourism industry thought might cause confusion.
“That point was certainly well taken,” he said.
Cudmore said TIAPEI has asked the province to set up a short-term committee to look at ways to raise more money for marketing and product development instead of going ahead with a levy for now.
He also said there was enough consensus that a levy wouldn’t be a bad way to go at some point.
“There was major concern about the timing of it,” he said.
TIAPEI has written to Tourism Minister Robert Henderson and the regional associations about the concerns that came up through the consultations, along with a recommendation to meet as soon as possible to look at ways to raise money.
“The reality is we need to raise the money,” he said.