Kelowna is set to extend its hotel room tax for another five years

Hotel tax being renewed

Tourism Kelowna hopes to increase visitation numbers by three per cent over the next eight months.

That's part of a five-year strategic plan included within the city's renewal proposal for the Municipal and Regional District Tax.

The levy, also known as the hotel room tax, has been collected since 2004 as a way to help Tourism Kelowna with its initiatives to promote tourism around the world.

The three per cent tax is added to all hotel and motel room stays in the city and, since 2019, also includes short term rental stays.

The plan submitted by Tourism Kelowna also includes plans to return visitation and hotel occupancy numbers to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, increasing the average spending per party and securing dates for major events such as the Brier and Memorial Cup.

If approved by council Monday, the city would formally apply for the five year renewal in December. It would kick in July 1, 2022.

Year-to-date figures for 2021 shows the MRDT has brought in slightly more than $1.5 million through the end of July.

Revenues have dropped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pre-pandemic, the MRDT brought in $3.1 million in 2019, but those dropped to $2 million last year.

Money received from the online portal accommodation tax (OAP) which is applied to short-term rental stays, remains with the city.

Those funds are earmarked specifically to address affordable housing.

Over the first two years, the tax has brought in $850,000. Through the end of July, a further $449,000 has been collected.

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