Tag: destination marketing fee

Tour operator blasts Falls tourism fee

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

A Toronto tour operator has blasted the city’s Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) in an e-mail forwarded to council members, saying it “damages the image of Niagara as a welcoming tourist destination.”

Jacob Stevens, owner of Tripsetter Inc., is angry that the fee – up to 10% at some hotels – is “unaccountable,” and makes the cost of visiting Niagara more prohibitive.

“By imposing an optional fee, (it) only stains the image of Niagara Falls and heightens the ‘tourist trap’ perception,” he wrote in a recent e-mail. “As a result, this can negatively influence one’s decision to visit or not.”

It reflects many of the same concerns shared on open forums like Trip Advisor, but when Stevens brought it up with a Niagara Falls Tourism member, he was told Trip Advisor is “fake news.”

Does hotel tax mean end of Niagara Falls DMF?

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Will a new hotel tax the province has granted municipalities power to impose replace the notorious Destination Marketing Fee in Niagara Falls?

There were lots of guesses after Thursday’s provincial budget, but not much clarification. Even Mayor Jim Diodati is unsure just what the new tax is, and what it means for the city.

“I’ve got a lot of questions I need answers to, but if it’s done right this could be a good thing,” said Diodati Friday. “I’m guessing that the province’s idea is not to add a tax, but to create an environment that’s more accountable, more transparent, more consistent.

“But at this point, we’re still in the dark on it.”

What would a hotel tax in Niagara Falls mean for the DMF?

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From Niagara This Week:

More information on a measure that would allow municipalities to institute a hotel room tax is needed before what that may mean for Niagara Falls can be determined, says Mayor Jim Diodati.

“I’d be very interested to learn more,” Diodati said Friday morning while attending a tree planting at Lions Park in Chippawa. “Then we can bring it before council, we can consult with the industry.”

Taxes collected under the scheme would be used to fund tourist organizations.

Currently, hotels and restaurants charge a destination marketing fee — or DMF for short. The fee is known by many names, including the tourism improvement fee. The province first allowed the practice in 2004 and said the fee is voluntary, and still is.

The fee has been the subject of two investigations by the CBC public affairs show Marketplace, which revealed some hotels and restaurants are telling customers the fee is mandatory.

Council to ask locals be exempt from DMF

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

It appears Niagara Falls city council is finally wading into the contentious waters of the Destination Marketing Fee (DMF).

At Tuesday’s meeting, Coun. Wayne Campbell introduced a motion calling on Mayor Jim Diodati to meet with the city’s tourism stakeholders to possibly remove the fee for Niagara Falls residents…

“There always has been bad vibes between the citizens of Niagara Falls and tourism,” he says. “So here’s an opportunity for the tourist industry to mend some fences, I think. Because we need to work together as a city.”

Time for province to tackle DMF mess in Falls

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Last spring, my cohort Ray Spiteri and I did a three-part series on the Destination Marketing Fee, the notorious tourism fee several Niagara Falls hotels and restaurants have been charging since 2004.

In recent years, the fee – up to 10 per cent in some places – has angered countless tourists. And with good reason: There still isn’t accountability for it. Businesses collect the money, but do not remit it to a proper tourism agency or association. We are supposed to take their word for it that it goes toward tourism-related projects.

You can see why this is a problem. And why it hurts the industry as a whole.

Lots and lots of links about the Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) in Niagara Falls

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If you are interested in Niagara Falls, then you probably saw some of the articles that the Niagara Falls Review had about the Destination Marketing Fee (or DMF). It is essentially a fee that many tourism companies charge that can be used for whatever that company wants. It is not a true tax, there is no industry standard for how it is used, and it annoys a lot of people.

Here are links to most of the articles (all of them from the Niagara Falls Review:

DMF: The hidden fee (Part 1)

It is the first day of March break, and the hockey moms aren’t happy.
They’re spending the week in Niagara Falls for a tournament, and they’re stumped about a mysterious charge that keeps appearing on their bills.
As they sit in a lobby overlooking Fallsview Boulevard, there it is again on their Starbucks bill, an extra amount on top of the already inflated price they paid for coffee in the tourist district.
On a $14-bill is an extra $1.18 for something called a TIF. On other bills it’s called a PF. Or DMP. Or a DMDF. Or DMF.

DMF: The hidden fee (Part 2)

The provincial government has heard the complaints about the Destination Marketing Program.
Tourism Minister Michael Coteau was asked about the controversial fee during a recent visit to Niagara Falls. He admits there are issues that need attention, but didn’t outline a concrete plan to fix them.
“I’m exploring different ways to bring forward some more clarity on that one piece throughout Ontario,” he said, of what many perceive to be a lack of transparency around the voluntary marketing fee that businesses in tourist districts are allowed to charge, but which customers are also legally allowed to refuse to pay.

DMF: The hidden fee (Part 3)

Some of the biggest players in the Niagara Falls tourism industry don’t charge the controversial Destination Marketing Fee.
Niagara Casinos. Harry Oakes. Hornblower. The Niagara Parks Commission.
And some businesses in the Honeymoon Capital are going to put up, or are considering putting up, signs to let guests know they don’t charge it.

How to complain about the DMF

The DMF is a voluntary industry-led initiative for supporting regional tourism marketing, development.
They are voluntary fees, not taxes, and consumers have the right to ask to have the fee removed from their bill.
Province encourages tourism organizations and tourism partners to work collaboratively.
Participating businesses are required to adhere to regulations under Consumer Protection Act.
Consumers feeling misled can call with complaints and inquiries: 1-800-889-9768.

Falls councillors weigh in on DMF

“There’s just some concerns and I think it’s important the tourism industry come together and manage this before another level of government steps in and tries to manage it for them, and control it for them.” – Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati
“There seems to be some mystery that these people in the industry aren’t spending the money on marketing and events, and that is false.” – Coun. Wayne Thomson, who is also chairman of Niagara Falls Tourism

Ministry, tourism industry discussing DMF

The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and industry partners are reviewing the controversial Destination Marketing Fee.
Ministry spokesperson Denelle Balfour said the program is being looked at during ongoing focus sessions across the province.
She said the ministry is leading the development of a strategic framework for tourism in Ontario in collaboration with industry partners. As part of this work, the ministry is hosting focus sessions for members of the tourism industry, including in Niagara Falls.

Falls tourism stakeholders discussing DMF

Some of the big players in the Niagara Falls tourism industry are “talking seriously” about the Destination Marketing Fee, says Niagara Falls Tourism chairman Wayne Thomson.
“The major stakeholders are getting together and getting a legal opinion on the DMF details, and trying to come up with a format that is going to be certainly transparent, which we think it is now,” said Thomson.
“I can tell you that we are talking seriously about the DMF and trying to come up with something that is compatible with … (the stakeholders’) needs and their marketing efforts, and that is compatible with what the province would like to see.”
The dialogue is a result of Tourism Minister Michael Coteau’s recent visit to Niagara Falls, where he spoke to industry partners about many tourism-related topics.

EDITORIAL: Solving the DMF puzzle is up to the province

It’s starting to happen already – more tourists and customers visiting Niagara Falls shops and hotels are asking if they’ll be charged a destination marketing fee with their purchase.
And how are the desk clerks and wait staff and ticket takers supposed to answer?
“Well, we don’t charge it but the guy next door does.”
Or maybe, “we do charge it and so does the guy next door, but at least our fee is smaller than his.”

Deceiving our tourists with ‘destination fee’ is shameful

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

It rears its head every summer in Niagara Falls like a visiting relative you’re ashamed of.

The ‘G’ word. Gouging.

If you’ve lived here long enough, you know the drill. You know what restaurants to skip. You know what areas to avoid when the snow melts. You know that for four or five months, the tourism sector will grab what they can to get through the lean winter months, like a bear stocking up before hibernation.

At least that’s how it appears to locals.

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