WindsorEats has reached out to city officials to request the possibility of accessing the Municipal Accommodation Tax to help struggling small based tourism businesses in the city.
WHAT IS A MUNICIPAL ACCOMMODATION TAX (MAT)?
The City of Windsor introduced a 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) on all “transient accommodation including hotel, motel, inn, bed and breakfast, resort and short term rental companies for stays of 30 days or less effective October 1, 2018.”
The MAT is intended to support City of Windsor tourism programs and contribute to a strong and vital community. Half of the net MAT revenue will be shared with Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) to support their promotion and development of Windsor tourism. The other half of net MAT revenue will remain with the City to provide funding for future project/initiatives which aim to support tourism.
WHY ARE WE ASKING FOR IT?
While we understand that the initial MAT was for tourism initiatives and projects, these are extenuating circumstances and we are now facing the reality that many tourism based businesses may not make it through should this pandemic extend itself into weeks and/or months.
Our current reality is that we are having to make decisions that are going to significantly impact us over the next year. Our most urgent concern is the postponement Masters of the Brewniverse. As you can appreciate, in small events such as ours, money from ticket sales is used to fund the infrastructure required for the event. In normal circumstances, if we had to cancel, while we would take a hit, we would recover.
However, we are now dealing with multiple of events being cancelled and people asking for refunds and the viability of future events being impacted. This is something we cannot handle and is going to significantly impact how we move forward.
Prolonged restrictions could all but decimate our fragile tourism market if small business operators do not survive the pending measures being implemented. From a personal perspective, WindsorEats, is already looking at the possibility of cancelling future events including Street Food Fare (May) the Urban Wine Fest (July), Whiskytown Festival (August) as well as our roster of walking and cycling tours if we sustain continued loss.
We need a life saving solution for our businesses and we are looking to our City and tourism board for help.
WHAT ARE WE ASKING FOR?
We have requested that the City review the policy around distribution of the MAT funds collected and for the policy to be adjusted to support small tourism businesses during this unprecedented time of need.
WindsorEats has been recognized as a leader in tourism locally, provincially and nationally. We’re extremely proud of that and feel we need to use that position to help others during these trying times. In addition to the request for access to MAT funds, we’ve also been providing information on how individuals can continue supporting local businesses during self distancing as well as providing a collection of information for small businesses and their employees to access to seek support. We’ve also been performing regular video live streams to keep individuals updated on the happenings in the food, drink and tourism industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.