Restoring destination marketing fee to raise up to $8.5M for Ottawa Tourism
Most major local hotels will soon revive a three-per-cent room levy, a move expected to generate millions of marketing dollars for Ottawa Tourism.
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Daniel Laliberte, president of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association.
The new destination marketing fee also establishes two tiers of hotels in the eyes of Ottawa Tourism. The agency will now exclude from its marketing activities any hospitality facilities that are not collecting the levy.
Forty-three of the 49 members of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association recently pledged to participate in the DMF program, which is slated to start Oct. 1 and is expected to raise $8 million to $8.5 million for Ottawa Tourism, according to Daniel Laliberté, OGHA president.
“It’s great for Ottawa Tourism (and) great for the hotels,” said Mr. Laliberté.
Ottawa Tourism, which focuses on attracting visitors, tours and conventions to the region, has been in financial flux since a previous iteration of the DMF ended in 2010 with the implementation of Ontario’s harmonized sales tax.
After providing bridge funding last year and in 2011, the province is expected to contribute $3.56 million to Ottawa Tourism in 2013, less than half of what’s expected to be raised by the city’s hoteliers, according to Mr. Laliberté.
He noted that, under the agreement between Ottawa Tourism and the hoteliers association, a committee will be formed made up of representatives of DMF participants. There will be four regions represented – west, east, central and suburban. Each of the regions will elect one member to be part of that committee.
These members will approve the expenditure of the funds, and Ottawa Tourism will spend the money according to its priorities, Mr. Laliberté added.
While not privy to Ottawa Tourism’s specific plans for 2013, Mr. Laliberté said he expects a continued focus on marketing the city to Montreal and Toronto, two traditionally competitive markets for Ottawa.
In May, when the DMF was first proposed publicly, Mayor Jim Watson said the city was working on a “bid more, win more, host more” approach to bring larger events to Ottawa.
He added he wants the city to “own” Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017, similar to Vancouver and the 2010 Olympics.