With the Tourism Development Corp. of Cornwall (TDCC) now ready to begin using its half of the revenue raised from the accommodation tax to support new tourism projects in the city, what is being done with the City of Cornwall’s half?
The revenues brought in from the four per cent surcharge on all hotel room stays inside the city are enough to cover all of Cornwall Tourism’s operating expenses, while leaving enough to hire a new staff member.
“It allowed us to eliminate any support required from the residential tax base for tourism activities,” explained Bob Peters, economic development manager. “It also allowed for a small increase in the budget, and that increase has been split between additional staff resources and marketing.”
Since the accommodation tax was approved in April of 2018 and implemented about a year ago, it has raised $420,000. Ten per cent of that was taken off for administrative expenses, and the remaining $380,000 was split between the municipality and the TDCC.
The non-profit tourism corporation is giving out its $190,000 in the form of grants to new tourism businesses, events and attractions. Meanwhile, the tax revenues are enough to take the costs of operating Cornwall Tourism off the property tax base.
This is good news given that when the former Cornwall and the Counties Tourism was dissolved, the cost to taxpayers for tourism increased when the city brought the service back under its umbrella in the economic development department. The budget in its first years was set at about $150,000.
The money the city got from the accommodation tax wasn’t all that much more than its budget in past years, but it was enough to hire a new tourism co-ordinator. That person will provide administrative support to both Cornwall Tourism and the TDCC.
“Our service agreement says we will provide that support. The TDCC has no staff, so we will collect their grant applications and make sure they are complete, as well as scheduling their meetings and taking down the minutes,” said Peters.
The remaining amount of new money is being put towards Cornwall Tourism’s marketing activities, which will involve attending trade shows and visitor services.
Both Cornwall Tourism and the TDCC will only get to use the money from the accommodation tax revenues raised in the previous year. So right now both organizations are using money that came in between April and December of 2018.
Peters said doing it this way will help keep anyone from running a deficit, especially at the TDCC where he expects there will be more applications for grants than there will be money to give out.