Like any other province and territory, British Columbia’s (Canada) tourism industry is one of the hardest hit sectors during the peak of the pandemic, and until now, the Canadian government continuously implements measures to help in the recovery of the industry.
In a bid to boost economic and tourism growth, the B.C. government last month announced a new Major Events Municipal and Regional Tax on short-term accommodation sales.
The new Major Events Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) would pose an up to 2.5% tax on short-term accommodation sales, which would aid communities in covering the cost of hosting major international tourism events, which will help boost provincial tourism and the economy.
According to the government, the Major Events MRDT is a time-limited, dedicated funding opportunity that communities can take advantage of through Destination BC.
Communities will need to seek support and prior approval from the minister responsible for tourism and the minister of finance to help ensure the tax is dedicated and applied as intended and that it is time-limited and subject to public reporting and transparency.
The announcement emphasized that the additional major events accommodation tax is different from the existing MRDT for short-term accommodations in over 60 areas throughout the province.
The City of Vancouver requested a temporary increase in the MRDT charged on purchases of accommodation to help cover the cost of planning, staging, and hosting FIFA 2026 matches.
The announcement highlighted that communities could apply for the additional Major Events MRDT when hosting a globally recognized event with the potential to attract significant out-of-province tourism.
“To apply, communities must have an agreement in place with the minister responsible for tourism to ensure the tax is used as intended, is time-limited, and subject to public transparency. The minister of finance must also designate the event as a major international tourism event of provincial significance,” the announcement indicated.