Province's hotels, short-term rentals post record revenues in 2019

Rentals add to revenue haul

It appears Airbnb rental revenue being subject to the municipal and regional district tax has had a solid impact on the province’s bottom line.

The B.C. provincial government has released 2019 hotel revenue figures, and every community in the Thompson Okanagan registered record numbers. As of Oct. 1, 2018, accommodations provided by an operator offering fewer than four units was no longer exempt from the MRDT, which was created in 1987 to fund local tourism marketing, programs, and projects.

At this point, however, Airbnb is the only short-term rental provider that has agreed to collect B.C. taxes. 

Kelowna brought in $128 million, which was $24 million more than in 2018 and represented a 23% increase. There were $4 million increases in Penticton ($35.9 million), Vernon ($39.2 million) and Kamloops ($66.6 million), which all set hotel revenue records in 2019, while Osoyoos’ total haul jumped more than $2.5 million last year to $23 million.

The new short-term rental legislation clearly played a role in the revenue increase, but Tourism Kelowna still enjoyed a banner tourism year. Hotel occupancy increased 2.3% from January to November last year when compared to the same 11 months of 2018. Inflation and more hotel rooms also has an impact.

Revenues in 2020 will plummet, of course, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has pummelled the hotel and tourism industry. There are signs of recovery starting to happen across the region as the provincial government’s third phase of reopening kicks into gear.

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