The Government of British Columbia dropped another chunk of change into the Golden City through Resort Municipality Funding (RMI).
The province has given $14,181 to Tourism Rossland to help support free bus shuttle services in the city from the downtown to Red Mountain Resort.
The RMI funding is designated to support programs or projects which add resort amenities, provide a better tourism experience for visitors and help to increase the tourism component of the local economy, like the free shuttle.
“This is a priority not just for tourism but for the entire community,” said Tourism Rossland executive director Deanne Steven in late fall.
The money was one of the biannual transfer payments made by the province to resort municipalities.
Projects for funding are selected by working with stakeholders and government to identify opportunities that meet the goal of encouraging visitors to stay longer and visit more often.
Current RMI projects for Rossland include the development of signage, a shuttle service, and funding to develop a strategy to relocate two visitor information centres to one location.
In 2012, the province signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the resort municipalities outlining eligibility criteria for projects to receive funding.
The MOU follows an established funding formula that sets each community’s funding, based on previous years municipal and regional tax.
In all, the province invested $5.97 million in 14 resort-oriented municipalities—including Rossland—throughout the province to support and promote local tourism economies.
Since Rossland started to receive RMI funding in 2007, the community has received $169,116 in provincial funding to support and promote local tourism.
Other communities will use the money to enhance services and infrastructure geared at attracting more tourists and encouraging longer stays. Projects include: Trail improvements in Ucluelet, Valemount and Harrison Hot Springs; signage and tourism information services in Golden, Revelstoke and Osoyoos; and shuttle services in Fernie, Invermere, Kimberley and Tofino.
The 14 municipalities participating in the RMI program are: Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, said tourism hot spots like Rossland generate jobs and investment.
“Providing our resort municipalities with financial support helps them to focus on providing a memorable experience for visitors, ensuring they return to British Columbia and our resort municipalities in the future,” she said in a statement.
Since 2007, through RMI, more than $72.5 million has been invested in tourism infrastructure and programs to support local and regional tourism economies.
In 2012, the tourism sector employed 127,300 British Columbians, generated over $13.5 billion in revenue for tourism-related businesses and contributed over $7.1 billion to the province’s gross domestic product.
Tourism is one of the largest industries in B.C., comprising over 18,000 businesses that directly employ more than 127,000 British Columbians.
The Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) was developed in 2006 and includes development, business promotion and financing tools to enhance the resort sector in B.C.
RMI is an incentive-based program with annual funding calculated with the following:
1. Based on a resort municipality’s accommodation units, a percentage value (one to four per cent) is assigned based on the following:
• Less than 450 accommodation units, one per cent;
• 450 to 899 accommodation units, two per cent;
• 900 to 1,349 accommodation units, three per cent;
• 1,350 accommodation units or greater, four per cent.
Accommodation units are defined as individual units of accommodation, with the exception of campsites, that are listed in the Accommodation Guide each year. These would include bed and breakfast rentals, hotels, motels, cabins and lodges.
The percentage rate is determined by using the most recent Accommodation Guide data available to determine the total accommodation units for each resort municipality.
2. It also takes into account the amount of accrued payments of two per cent Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT), commonly known as the additional hotel room tax, paid to the resort municipality for the previous calendar year.
3. With these two variables the following formula is used to calculate payments: (previous calendar year MRDT revenues) multiplied by (percentage value based on accommodation units/two per cent) equals RMI funding amount.