“The implementation of this policy would have involved reprogramming systems and training staff in hundreds of hotels around the province, days before a much needed busy summer season, and the Calgary Stampede. When Alberta hotels come together through their association, we get things done!” AHLA Board Member Nellie Dhanji, Holiday Inn & Suites Calgary Airport North
The AHLA team worked around the clock to get clarity on the government’s policy intent and successfully advocate on your behalf. The AHLA spoke to numerous department officials in Alberta Finance, the Minister of Finance, the Premier’s Office, Deputy Minister of Tourism & Sport David Goldstein, and key stakeholders like TIAA, asking the Government of Alberta to ensure:
- A pause to the changes to the tourism levy that were to take effect on July 1.
- An orderly and informed policy implementation that recognizes the operational requirements of hotels and does not penalize businesses that have contributed to the tourism levy since 2005.
- Alberta Finance does not inadvertently legitimize ghost hotels or illegal short term rentals.
- Online accommodation platforms pay corporate tax on their Alberta sales, creating real tax fairness.
Because hotels came together and spoke with one voice through the AHLA, the government has agreed to pause the implementation of changes to the tourism levy and consult with the AHLA on how to proceed with future changes that will ensure tax fairness for online marketplaces without punishing businesses that are owned and operated by Albertans.
“The AHLA and our members fully support the government’s goal of requiring online platforms to charge, collect, and contribute the full amount of the tourism levy,” said AHLA Board Chair Brooke Christianson. “Alberta hotels needed a solution that made sense, and the AHLA got it done. I’d like to thank Minister Horner and his department officials for their willingness to hear our concerns, and pause implementation of the current policy.”
This successful advocacy effort means that on July 1st you will not have to re-program your property management systems or retrain your staff on how to treat the tourism levy on OTA bookings. Your hotel will continue to charge and remit the Tourism Levy as usual. The AHLA will be working with the government to ensure officials understand the operational implications for our members when changes are made to how the tourism levy is collected and remitted.
“We appreciate the government’s willingness to listen to our concerns and respond thoughtfully to address the unintended consequences of the original policy,” said AHLA President & CEO Tracy Douglas-Blowers. “This pause means AHLA members don’t need to scramble to reprogram their systems at the very time they should be focusing on welcoming travelers to their hotels and bringing down some of the debt job creators are carrying as a result of the pandemic.”
This victory was the result of AHLA members coming together through your association to inform the government about your concerns, and ask for a pause in the current implementation. This saved your hotel from having to deal with operational challenges created by last minute changes to programming, and costly penalties caused by unclear government policies.