Tourism is the third largest industry on PEI. There were over 1,000,000 overnight stays in 2017. Tourism brings in over $500 million to the PEI economy – which amounts to more than $50 million in taxes to government just from the provincial portion of the HST. Tourism operators provide the service of collecting this HST for the PEI government.
So, how much does the PEI government spend on tourism? The 2017 provincial budget for Tourism PEI was just under $14 million.
Tourism operators have worked for decades to build the PEI product to the fantastic level it is today – one million overnight stays is incredible – and deserve all the credit. PEI tourism operators have come to me and asked that they receive more support from government – ideally in the form of lower taxes. They simply want to keep more of the money they are earning so they can continue to grow their business and the PEI economy.
Another idea brought to me by Island tourism establishments is having government pay for the “Responsible Beverage Service Program” course. Holland College offers it online at a cost of $35. The PEI Liquor Control Commission requires that owners and employees at establishments licensed to sell alcoholic beverages must take the “Responsible Beverage Service Program” and renew their certificate every 5 years.
I think this would be a fantastic way to provide immediate assistance to our Tourism industry. What do you think?
Note that the PEI government already gives tens of millions of dollars to Holland College each year – almost $33 million in the 2017 budget (p. 142).