The Waterfront Hotel in downtown Windsor. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Hotel, Motel Owners Leery Of Proposed Hotel Tax

The City of Windsor is pondering a 4% hotel/motel tax, but whether the industry will support it depends on how the revenue will be spent.

Members of the city’s hotel and motel industry met last week with the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association to discuss the potential impacts of the proposed tax.

Association Chair Larry Horwitz says it cannot just be a money grab.

“They would like it if the majority, if not all the money goes towards bringing people to the city, and bringing people to the hotels,” says Horwitz. “If that were to be the case, there could be some positive feelings on it. If it’s not then it’s not quite what they want.”

The city is just studying the issue now. A report is expected to come back to city council before any tax would be implemented. That could take some time, but Horwitz says it’s important the industry decide how it is going to react now.

One challenge is the timing. Many local hotels and motels have just invested money in renovations.

“They’ve done millions of dollars in renovations, and their occupancy rate is just starting to creep up,” says Horwitz.

Many cities in Ontario already impose an accommodation tax on visitors including Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa and Mississauga. In some of those cities, hotel associations have criticized the tax saying it will make Ontario a less competitive tourist destination.

– With files by Maureen Revait.