Gateway Gazette

Additional Relief for Tourism Industry

The Alberta government is providing new supports for hotels and other lodging providers that allow them to keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

This measure will free up between $16 million and $27 million in additional cash flow for the hospitality sector, which employs 30,000 Albertans.

It will also help position the sector for recovery, as our government takes steps to gradually reopen businesses and services and get people back to work.

Travel Alberta is also working on measures to support local tourism organizations across Alberta that will be announced at a later date.

“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 industry the support it needs now so that it can recover and grow.”Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism

“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.”Royce Chwin, CEO, Travel Alberta

Amounts collected prior to March 1, 2020 that are being deferred under the previously announced deferral program can continue to be deferred until August 31, 2020.

Accommodation providers are still expected to file returns throughout 2020, as required by legislation, and will be expected to resume regular tourism levy payments in 2021. Additional program details will be provided in the coming weeks.

“At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, the AHLA participated in an industry roundtable call with the Premier and identified liquidity as our industry’s top concern. One of our key asks was for 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.”Dave Kaiser, president and CEO, Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association

“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. A business’s ability to preserve limited cash flow to assist with purchases of inventory, supplies, and to rehire staff can certainly be aided when government moves from deferral of fees like the ATL, to abatement.”Alida Visbach, board chair, Tourism Industry Association of Alberta

These new measures are part of the Government of Alberta’s broader 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
  • rebuilding and positioning the sector for growth

The Government of Alberta and Travel Alberta’s work to develop a 10-year tourism strategy is ongoing. The strategy is being repositioned to ensure there is a solid plan in place to rebuild Alberta’s tourism industry, while laying the groundwork for long-term growth.

Alberta has a comprehensive response to COVID-19 including measures to enhance physical distancing, screening and testing. Financial supports are helping Alberta families and businesses.

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