Working in partnership with the City of Kelowna, Tourism Kelowna is pleased to announce the renewal of Kelowna’s Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) 5-year agreement with the province, providing key destination marketing funding to 2027.
The funding renewal coincides with the renewal of the City’s long-term service agreement with Tourism Kelowna to implement and leverage these funds to market the destination and deliver economic and quality-of-life benefits to the community.
"The renewal of the MRDT is an affirmation of our organization’s mandate—it allows us to continue marketing Kelowna and collaborating with local businesses to create a thriving tourism economy that is sustainable and welcoming for both visitors and residents," says Tourism Kelowna President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne.
The renewal application process was lengthy, beginning with the development of Tourism Kelowna’s updated strategic plan in 2021, which was then presented over several months to Tourism Kelowna members and stakeholders, including local accommodators who collect and remit the MRDT. Members and stakeholders were invited to complete an online form to indicate their support for the MRDT renewal with Tourism Kelowna as the service provider.
"We are grateful for the support of local accommodators, tourism stakeholders, and the City of Kelowna,” says Ballantyne. “With the committed MRDT funds now in place and a renewed destination development focus through our strategic plan, our team is already hard at work, collaborating and supporting the Central Okanagan tourism sector as we collectively build back the visitor economy post-COVID."
In addition to industry support, a 2021 resident sentiment survey showed that 94% of decided respondents agreed that tourism is an important industry in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan. Additionally, 82.5% recognized the value of the work done by Tourism Kelowna and its positive impact on residents. This recognition and trust further support the ongoing investment of MRDT funds to ensure the sustainability of the region’s $2.1 billion tourism economy.
If you have questions about the MRDT renewal process or how Tourism Kelowna will use MRDT funds, please contact Lisanne Ballantyne at email@example.com.
Tourism Kelowna’s Strategic Plan
Building back the visitor economy will be achieved through the execution of Tourism Kelowna's new strategic plan, which is anchored by four strategic pillars:
- Seasonality: Establish Kelowna and the Central Okanagan as a four-season travel destination.
- Destination Management: Foster the sustainable growth of the destination.
- Internal Excellence: Ensure organizational excellence.
- External Engagement: Engage partners and external stakeholders to collaboratively grow the Central Okanagan visitor economy.
Each of these pillars contains strategic objectives, guiding our organization's work through the coming years. View the full strategic plan here.
What is MRDT?
The City of Kelowna currently collects a 3% Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) on accommodation sales (hotel rooms, Airbnb, etc.) within our city limits. This is a municipal bylaw that was introduced in Kelowna in 2004 as part of a provincial program and must be renewed every five years.
The Provincial Government oversees the collection of MRDT 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, the City has designated Tourism Kelowna as the service provider. Therefore, all “general” MRDT funds received by the City are allocated to Tourism Kelowna for destination marketing. MRDT funds collected by online accommodation platforms, like Airbnb and VRBO, are allocated to affordable housing initiatives.