CALGARY – Some in Alberta’s tourism industry are asking the province for another lifeline to get back on their feet after the pandemic.
The head of the Calgary Hotel Association joined the opposition NDP on Sunday in calling for an extension of the tourism tax cut.
The levy is a tax of 4 percent for accommodation establishments. It was paused for much of the year last year, but it is being collected again this month.
Sol Zia says it is a heavy pill for some companies to swallow.
“The most important thing we need is a commitment to the survival and return of tourism,” he said. “You have to survive to recover and grow.”
Tourism has been hit hard by the slowdowns from COVID-19, and even after Alberta reopens, closed land borders and hesitant travelers mean revenue is still falling.
The NDP says lowering it further would help those in the industry.
“So that we have a strong base and our employers can hire Albertans and Albertans can (then) tour their province,” said MLA Sarah Hoffman.
The opposition predicts that a reduction would gross the industry about $ 50 million by September 2022.
A provincial spokesman told CTV News on Sunday that the break is being considered.
He acknowledged the importance of money and said the government had discussed the next steps. The spokesman also referred to the international border rules: something that many in the provincial government wanted to change.
The federal government will continue to discuss the restrictions later in July.
Fully vaccinated Canadians can currently fly home without isolation, but negative COVID-19 tests are still required before and after their trip.
The closure of the land border was extended in June.
Tannis Gaffney of Travel Alberta says changes to the province’s current structure would help immensely.
“Over the past 18 months we’ve seen tourism spending for the province decrease by about 48 percent,” she said. “That corresponds to a job loss of around 23,000 or 30 percent. So that’s a significant impact on the industry.”