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Prince Rupert hoteliers looking for a new tourism arrangement

A group of Prince Rupert hoteliers and tour operators say the way tourism in Prince Rupert is handled needs to be changed.

At its inaugural meeting on Dec. 4 the Prince Rupert Accommodation and Attraction Association (PRAAA) unanimously agreed that the current tourism marketing arrangement is not working for their business, and the group took its concerns to council to try and find a better solution.

“The challenge we see is that, since its inception, funding to Tourism Prince Rupert has declined significantly from the City. What the result is is that after wages and administration there is less money available for destination marketing,” said PRAAA chair Scott Farwell, saying the existing hoteliers association voted on Dec. 4 to include motels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to form the new group.

“What has to happen is we have to look at the model and see if it still viable in this day and age and see what other options there are.”

Farwell said council seemed reception to the presentation and open to possible new ideas. For his part, Tourism Prince Rupert executive director Bruce Wishart welcomed the news.

“I think it is wonderful that the hoteliers have organized, and from Tourism Prince Rupert's perspective, anything that strengthens tourism locally is great,” he said.

“A strong hotel sector getting organized is a great thing... I'd like to have all sectors organized so we can just go to the group and ask what that sector's opinion is on things we do.”

Under the current agreement, a two per cent municipal hotel tax is levied and the revenue from the tax is used to partially fun Tourism Prince Rupert. According to the City's chief financial officer Dan Rodin, in 2011 that hotel tax added up to $160,000 and has ranged from a low of $129,000 in 2003 and 2006 to a high of $169,000 in 2007 and 2008. On top of the hotel tax, the City pays $12,000 for rent for Tourism Prince Rupert and provides a grant of $65,000.

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