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London city council backs 4% hotel tax, calls for plan on how money will be spent

It’ll be a little more expensive to stay at London hotels in the future.

City council voted 8-4 in favour of implementing the provincial transient accommodation tax Tuesday, which will add four per cent to the cost of an overnight stay at local hotels.

The tax is expected to bring in between $2 million and $4 million a year in additional revenue that’s meant to help promote the city and maintain local existing attractions and events.

But as it is a new tax, councillors voted unanimously in favour of asking staff to report back with details on how the money would be used.

“I think it would be really prudent for some of that information to come forward in a very organized and structured way. That way, the hotel industry, the public and council can be confident [the tax] is going to have the impact it’s desired to have in our community,” said deputy mayor Paul Hubert.

The funding is variable and potentially hyper-variable, said Coun. Stephen Turner, who also noted when variable sources of income have come to the city in the past, council has put a plan in place for how that money will be used.

“I think if you look at any other sources of funding across the city we try to do anything we can to smooth out the curves on unpredictable or unstable lines of funding in such a way that we don’t find ourselves with a gap that ends up having to be filled by a levy,” he said.

“I think it’s really prudent for us to get some advice on the appropriate manners in which we might manage that funding.”

There’s also a possibility the city could decide to cut some of Tourism London’s existing annual funding, which currently sits at $1.9 million, given it’ll receive cash from the hotel tax.

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