When I take off on vacation, I’m not the type to take any chances. I surf the web to find the best hotel deals and create a minute-by-minute itinerary (I like surprises but not when I’m traveling on a strict budget). This year, I’ve set my sights on Vancouver. I can smell the salty ocean air already!
My research found hotels in Vancouver offer competitive rates averaging about $136 per night plus tax. It also led me to discover two additional fees that add nearly 4% to the price of my hotel room: the Destination Marketing Fee (1.313%) and a hotel room tax (2%). Sure, these may not seem like a lot, but I wanted to know where my money was going. Here’s the scoop.
The Destination Marketing Fee (DMF)- This fee has been around since 2004 thanks to Toronto, Ottawa and Kingston. When these Ontario cities introduced a 3% fee to support tourism and infrastructure for the region, other cities quickly followed suit. It ranges from 1- 3 per cent and can be applied to the cost of your hotel, motel, restaurant meal, souvenirs or golfing green fees in tourist hot spots across Canada. But Ontario tourists have a reason to celebrate: since PST and GST were harmonized in July, the DMF was eliminated!
What is a hotel room tax and how did it start?
In 1971, B.C’s Premier and Finance Minister W.A.C. Bennett said, “It is considered that our tourists should make a modest contribution to our expenditures on their behalf” and so B.C.’s hotel room tax was born. If you’re traveling to places like Parksville, Richmond, Saanich, Vancouver, Victoria or Whistler, expect to pay 1-2% on top of your pre-tax room rate. Of course, the spectacular scenery will make up for it!
Travelers should note that the Ontario tax was recently replaced by the HST, so it’s no longer something you’ll see on your bill if you’re honeymooning in Niagara Falls. Every city has their own tax rules so it’s worthwhile to do some research when planning your next trip. I bet you didn’t know that you help pay off the St. John’s Convention Center’s debt when you stay in the city. Or that you pay more in Halifax if you stay at a hotel with over 20 rooms. Get informed by checking out the Hotel Association of Canada website where you’ll find a handy table of hotel taxes by province.