The government of Alberta is providing additional supports for hotels and other lodging providers that allow them to keep the tourism levy amount collected between March 1 and Dec. 31.
“Alberta’s tourism industry is a key contributor to our economy, and it creates jobs and revenue that so many communities across our province depend on. We’re committed to providing the industry the support it needs now so that it can recover and grow,” said the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, Tanya Fir.
The amounts collected before March 1, that are being deferred under the previously announced deferral program can continue to be deferred until August 31.
“The government’s decision to halt the collection of the Alberta Tourism Levy (ATL) payments from hotels through to Dec. 31 is a measure that will help the tourism industry begin to reopen. As businesses ability to preserve limited cash flow to assist with purchases of inventory, supplies, and to rehire staff can certainly be aided when the government moves from a deferral of fees like the ATL to abatement,” said the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta Board Chair Alida Visbach.
The new support will free up between $16 million and $27 million in additional cash flow for the hospitality sector, which employs approximately 30,000 Albertans.
The support will also help position the sector for recovery, as the government takes steps to gradually reopen businesses and services.
Travel Alberta is also working on measures to support local tourism organizations across Alberta that will be announced at a later date.
“The tourism industry, and our accommodations providers were dramatically and suddenly hard hit by the impacts of COVID-19. These businesses play a critical role in the traveller experience and will be essential in the restart of Alberta’s visitor economy.
Travel Alberta looks forward to working with our accommodations providers to rebuild the sector,” said the Travel Alberta CEO, Royce Chwin.
The new measures are part of the government of Alberta’s plan to help Alberta’s tourism industry recover and eventually grow.
The three-phase plan will focus on responding and providing the sector with immediate relief, relaunching and supporting the sector through recovery, and rebuilding and positioning the sector for growth.
Currently, the government of Alberta and Travel Alberta is working to develop and reposition a 10-year tourism strategy that will ensure there is a plan in place to rebuild the provinces’ tourism industry.
“At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) participated in an industry roundtable call with the Premier and identified liquidity as our industry’s top concern,” said the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association President and CEO, Dave Kaiser.
He added, “One of our key asks was for the government to leave every tax dollar possible in the hands of our members to support liquidity for their business. Today’s announcement directly supports our ask and is positive news for hotels in Alberta. We sincerely thank the government of Alberta for this support.”