Hotel tax in the works, Point Edward first

Tourism Sarnia-Lambton Executive Director Mark Perrin updates Lambton County Council on plans for a Municipal Transient Accommodation Tax. October 2, 2019 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Tourism Sarnia-Lambton [TSL] wants to start charging a Municipal Transient Accommodation Tax [MAT] by January 1.

In an update to Lambton County Council Wednesday, Executive Director Mark Perrin said they’re currently working with member municipalities.

“We started with Point Edward, who have over 50 per cent of the hotel rooms in Lambton County,” said Perrin. “They’re very acceptable of the report we presented at their council meeting and we are beginning to work on the bylaw phase, which then would be voted on by their council to look at a January 1, 2020 implementation date.”

He said the four per cent user based fee would be applied to all accommodations where people stay for less than 30 days.

“That’s Airbnb’s, hotels, motels, cottages rentals, basically anything in that category. Overall it has potential at a 50 per cent occupancy average of $110 a night, it could possibly bring in $1.2 million dollars annually.”

He said the revenue would be split evenly between municipalities and TSL, for the exclusive purpose of marketing and promoting tourism.

“Getting more people to the area supports the hotels, restaurants and the whole community and it’s something that we can look to attract bigger events and more events to Sarnia-Lambton by way of this revenue source.”

Perrin will be visiting Sarnia council and Lambton Shores council later this month.

Campsites and campgrounds for RV’s are exempt from the fee, as are college and university residences, hospitals, long term care homes and hospices.