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Tourism exec says room tax needed to keep Sunshine Coast "competitive" with Island

Nanaimo just approved it, and the Sunshine Coast is hoping to follow suit this year with a room tax to help fund tourism promotion.

Nanaimo is among the last communities on the Island to bring in the 2 per cent tax, which is expected to generate nearly half a million dollars.

The president of Vancouver Coast and Mountains Tourism says it’s a direction the Sunshine Coast needs to go as well.

Speaking to Councillors in Gibsons, Kevan Ridgway explained it’s a question of staying competitive.

Room taxes need support from local governments and the ministry of finance.  Nanaimo is still waiting for that sign off from Victoria before its room tax will start.

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Ridgway also wasn’t afraid to wade in where angels fear to tread, telling Council the organization is solidly behind the controversial George hotel proposal.

He says the strategy for marketing the Sunshine Coast focuses on increasing overnight stays, and a hotel/conference centre like the George would be a key part of that.

The rezoning applications for the George are still at a fairly early stage… the Town is waiting for reports from geotechnical and other experts before drafting bylaws and setting a public hearing.

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