The new hotel taxation can fund travel and tourism industry, expecting $2 million to $4 million revenue.
Half the cash has to go to a tourism agency, Tourism London, by provincial rules, and politicians will debate next week whether the other half should be funneled to a reserve fund for tourism infrastructure projects.
The boosters said that the hotel tax paid mostly by visitors to London will help the city to compete with other hosts for concerts, conventions and sporting competitions.
A Tourism London report suggests the city missed out on 29 conferences — and an estimated $12.5 million in spending by visitors — over five years because it lacked the cash to outbid other cities.
The tourism funds will help London pursue music, sports and business events previously out of reach, said Tourism London’s general manager John Winston.
The Tourism Council approved the hotel tax in January, but asked for more information about options for spending the proceeds.
The infrastructure reserve fund — the city’s half of the tax revenue — could pay for upgrades to key local venues, such as Budweiser Gardens or the Grand Theatre, he suggested.
But Coun. Stephen Turner, who asked for a business case breaking down the options for spending the tax revenue, said he’s still not sold on putting it all toward tourism.
Deputy Mayor Paul Hubert, a Tourism London board member, said city taxpayers will benefit from the hotel tax. Filling up reserves for tourism bids and upgrades will eliminate last-minute requests when opportunities arise — like last year, when Tourism London asked council for $500,000 to bid for the 2019 Juno Awards.
By Latifa Zenaina