Tag: industry

    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.”

    CLOSEUP: Toasting Niagara’s wine industry

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    A week from now, wine lovers, industry leaders and winemakers will gather in Niagara Falls for the 27th Cuvee, to celebrate and raise a glass to another vintage and the continued success of the wine industry in Ontario and in particular, Niagara.

    Attendees in long flowing dresses and bow ties will swirl glasses and sample creative inspirations from some of Niagara’s best culinary experiences.

    But one has to remember the industry is still a fledgling when compared to other regions around the world.

    Another Voice: Niagara Falls hasn’t learned the lessons of Love Canal

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    From the Buffalo News:

    This year marks 35 years since residents in the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls sounded the alarm on toxic chemicals. Over 800 families were relocated and the federal Superfund program was created to clean up the nation’s most polluted toxic waste sites.

    During the last century, the U.S. side of Niagara Falls pursued industry, notably chemical processes, while the Canadian side pursued tourism. Ultimately, the chemical economy on the U.S. side largely went south, leaving behind the enormous financial costs of contamination and public health consequences.

    Today the state is investing in Niagara Falls tourism, a smart and sustainable move. Sadly, the Dyster administration is not. Clearly the city hasn’t learned that tourism and pollution are just not compatible.

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