Sunshine Coast Tourism Association (SCTA) president Celia Robben is making the rounds with accommodation providers on the Coast this month, hoping to get at least 51 per cent of them to agree to institute a two per cent room tax locally.
The SCTA is preparing a submission to government to ask their approval of the new taxation, which could triple the organization’s funding.
Currently the SCTA has a budget of approximately $125,000 a year, and it’s estimated the new room tax could generate another $250,000 for the group.
“Right now we’re really a 50/50 partnership between public and private, and this brings the third leg to the stool of bringing the consumer into the model,” Robben said.
But in order to get the OK of the province, the SCTA must demonstrate that at least 51 per cent of accommodation providers who have four rooms or more from Langdale to Lund are in favour.
Only accommodations with four rooms or more would be charged the fee, which leaves many bed and breakfasts and small cottages out of the equation.
There are still many accommodators to meet with.
“There are approximately 900 accommodation units on the Coast that this would apply to,” Robben said, noting there are about 60 different owners who operate those 900 units.
That’s a lot of doors to knock on and tables to sit around, but Robben feels the one-on-one and small group settings are necessary to fully explain the new taxation model and answer any questions people may have.
“We will start next week, but it will take a while to talk to about 60 different accommodators,” Robben said.
She hopes to have the necessary signatures and the proposal finalized to be submitted to the government by the spring.
“Then we expect a good six-month lag before the process is completed and implemented,” Robben said, noting it will likely take until 2013 to see the first funding from the model come back to the Coast.
If implemented, the two per cent tax would fund things like destination marketing of the Coast in specific markets and more marketing of unique attractions like the Sunshine Coast Trail and Dakota Ridge.
The increased revenue could also allow the SCTA to hire someone to co-ordinate efforts, which Robben said would help greatly as the organization is currently volunteer-based.
“This will allow us to get to an entirely new level of funding and an entirely new level of capabilities. And with that, our goal is to see a four per cent increase in tourism every year,” she added.