The City of Kelowna currently collects a 3% Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) on sales of short-term accommodation within our city limits. This is a municipal bylaw that was introduced in Kelowna on January 1, 2004 and must be renewed every 5 years.
The collection of MRDT is overseen by the Provincial Government, to provide funding for local tourism marketing, programs, and projects. The tax is intended to help grow BC revenues, visitation, and jobs, and amplify BC’s tourism marketing efforts in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
While the City of Kelowna is the applicant for the tax revenue, they have designated Tourism Kelowna as the service provider. Therefore, all general MRDT funds received by the City of Kelowna are provided to Tourism Kelowna for the purpose of destination marketing. MRDT funds collected by online accommodation platforms are allocated to affordable housing initiatives.
The marketing investments made by the Tourism Kelowna Society with the revenue generated from the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) have resulted in significant increases in overnight tourist visits since the MRDT implementation. Visitation has grown from an estimated 1.2 million visitors in 2006 to over 1.8 million visitors in 2019.
"The BC Hotel Association recognizes the value that community destination marketing organizations like Tourism Kelowna provide, generating effective destination awareness campaigns that attract visitors to a place – a role which is not done by any other organization or individual accommodator. In the current environment, their work is invaluable for recovery of our industry and for our community, where a large percentage of businesses rely on the visitor economy to survive." Ingrid Jarrett, President & CEO BC Hotel Association