Tag: tourism minister

    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.”

    Falls ‘one of the crown jewels’ of Ontario

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    People from around the world visit Canada because of Niagara Falls, so it’s important the Ontario government continues to support the Honeymoon Capital, says Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Michael Coteau.

    “We have a $28-billion tourism sector here in Ontario, (which) represents four per cent of the GDP of the province. There’s no question that (Niagara Falls) is probably one of the most recognizable, if not the most recognizable, tourism attraction in this country,” he said during a visit to the city on Thursday.

    ‘Blockbuster’ the name of the tourism game

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    It used to be a video store, but “Blockbuster” is now the mantra of the tourism industry in Niagara and the province of Ontario.

    Get used to it.

    Blockbuster. Blockbuster. Blockbuster.

    At some point, the word became the catch phrase for the kind of events Ontario’s tourism industry wants to hang its hat on.

    It crept into the lexicon in 2010 when Celebrate Ontario, a provincially funded agency, created a program to support “blockbuster events” or one-time events “of a size and scope sufficient to draw visitors to Ontario’s communities.”

    In the past two years, “blockbuster” is the phrase everyone from Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan to Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and Niagara Parks Commission chairwoman Janice Thomson has borrowed to set their sights on hosting larger-than-life events.

    Judging by some events this year and others that are on the calendar, both Niagara and Queen’s Park are on the same page.

    Future cloudy for Falls favorite Maid of the Mist

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    From the Washington Examiner:

    Deliberations in Canada over the future of the Maid of the Mist sightseeing boats at Niagara Falls are being closely watched in the United States, where elected and tourism officials want to avoid disruptions to an iconic draw that brings millions of tourists to the Falls each year.

    The double-decker boats ferry people from both sides of the Niagara River to the base of the Horseshoe Falls under separate agreements with New York state and Ontario, Canada. The tours have run continuously since 1846.

    The Niagara Parks Commission, an arm of the Ontario government that controls the land and buildings around the Canadian falls, approved a 25-year contract with the Maid of the Mist Steamship Co. in 2008. But the lack of competition for the deal drew criticism, so the commission called for bids from competing boat tour operators for the first time.

    The multimillion-dollar bids are under review; the commission is expected to make its recommendation to Ontario’s tourism minister in February, though at one point it had anticipated choosing a company by the end of last year.

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/entertainment/travel/2012/01/future-cloudy-falls-favorite-maid-mist/2147516?utm_source=feedburnerdcexaminer%2Fwheels&utm_medium=feedWheels&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dcexaminer%2Fwheels+%28Wheels%29%24%7Bdistribu&utm_content=%24%7BdistributionCha#ixzz1kx3vjMZd

    Wallenda getting second chance to woo Niagara Parks Commission

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    There are people on both sides of the Nik Wallenda fence, but everyone now seems to agree that it’s an international walk or no walk at all.

    Wallenda, the American aerialist who has proposed walking across the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope, is now waiting for a second meeting with the Niagara Parks Commission in hopes of getting the commission to reverse its earlier decision not to allow the walk.

    After meeting with Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan Friday, Wallenda said he was encouraged to hear the minister’s interest in the proposal, which would see Wallenda walk across the Horseshoe falls this spring or summer.

    Wallenda was denied permission by the NPC last month, and was hoping Chan would overrule that decision. While the minister didn’t reverse the NPC’s call, he did suggest a second meeting between the aerialist and the commission.

    Chairwoman Janice Thomson said Monday she would sit down with Wallenda for a longer meeting than the formal 10-minute forum he was given on Nov. 16.

    Wallend to meet with tourism minister

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    This happened on Friday, but I neglected to post the articles leading up to it. It is always interested to see how things are presented before in the news, and then afterwards. I’ll have a posting later with the articles after they met.

    Wallenda taking his case to tourism minister

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Niagara Parks Commission slammed the door on Nik Wallenda Wednesday, but a day later Minister of Tourism Michael Chan opened it up just a bit.

    Speaking with the Niagara Falls Review Thursday, the Ontario tourism minister invited Wallenda, a seventh-generation aerialist who wants to walk across the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope, to come and speak with him.

    “My door is always open. I welcome the opportunity to meet Mr. Wallenda,” said Chan, who confirmed he had nothing to do with the NPC’s decision to reject Wallenda’s proposal. “This particular project is under the watch of many, many people. It has huge interest around the world.”

    Asked if he would stand behind the NPC’s ruling, Chan seemed to leave the door open, saying there are big issues at play.

    “One of the major factors is economics. These are uncertain economic times. Jobs are important, the economy is important. That’s why, my door is open to listen to people,” he said.

    Ontario tourism minister didn’t force people-mover deal on Parks Commission: Niagara Falls MPP

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    From Bullet News Niagara:

    A pending deal between the City of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Parks Commission to create a new people-mover bus system to service the millions of visitors to the Honeymoon Capital each year was no shotgun wedding.

    While Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor acknowledges he and Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan were asked to help resolve an impasse in negotiations between the parties in recent weeks, the minister did not force a deal on the provincial agency, whose chairwoman Fay Booker continues to raise concerns about the impact the new system could have on Niagara Parks’ revenue stream.

    “No – I don’t think that’s true,” said Craitor, when asked if the ministry put pressure on Booker and the commission to get the deal done.

    Setting sail under cloud of uncertainty

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    From the Buffalo News:

    Maid of the Mist workers Tuesday hurriedly prepared for the start of the upcoming tourist season — hoping it won’t be the last on the Canadian side for an iconic tour boat company that traces its roots back 126 years.

    The Maid of the Mist Steamboat Corp. has owned exclusive rights from its Canadian docks below the falls since the company began, but Ontario’s tourism minister has ordered the lease on the Canadian side be opened to competitive bidding, in effect putting the long-term future of the company into question.

    Charter boats will keep ferrying visitors between the docks at Table Rock and the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe falls, but they may belong to a different company and not be part of the small fleet called the Maid of the Mist.

    “Everything is up in the air,” said John H. Percy Jr., president and chief executive of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. on the U.S. side of the border. “Right now, I’m just looking forward to 2011 season and continuing to work with them.”

    Tourism minister drops by Falls city hall for friendly chat with mayor

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    From Bullet Media:

    The view from 10,000 feet is often brilliant and rarely detailed. And that pretty much sums up the meeting Friday between Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan: A relaxing get-together with nothing on the agenda, and few if any expectations.

    “It was just a chance to get acquainted,” Diodati said. “There was nothing substantive or contentious at all. It was one of those discussions from 10,000 feet. We talked about items of general importance to tourism in Ontario and Niagara Falls. We talked about the Chinese market, the upcoming Bollywood festival, and how we can capitalize on this.”

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