Vancouver's tourists to pay new tax until 2030 to cover FIFA World Cup costs

Jan 30 2023, 6:30 pm

Visitors to Vancouver will notice an extra fee on their hotel and short-term rental bills starting Wednesday.

The new 2.5% Major Events Municipal and Regional District Tax (Major Events MRDT) will be applied to all short-term accommodation sales within the City of Vancouver to cover the costs of the 2026 FIFA World Cup in which Vancouver will be among the host cities.

There will not be exceptions made, according to the Ministry of Finance, when asked if visitors who are in the city for vital medical appointments like at BC Children’s Hospital will still be required to pay.

The ministry said travellers purchasing lower-priced rooms will pay less than travellers purchasing higher-priced rooms, as the “modest fee” will amount to $2.50 per $100 spent.

The province says there will be safeguards in place to ensure the amount received goes into event costs and not somewhere else.

The tax is set to be in place for three years leading up to the FIFA World Cup, and will remain for three years following the massive event, until 2030. The event is expected to cost between $240 million and $260 million for BC.

In response to Daily Hive, the Ministry of Finance reiterated that the tax is temporary and would no longer be in effect once the costs of the major event have been paid for.

Many might have noticed they were already seeing an additional tax on their bills as Vancouver already has an MRDT tax in place at 3%. On February 1, 2023, that will bring the total to 5.5% in event fees alone; however, each tax should be listed separately on the bill.

Plus, the 8% provincial tax remains as well.

It’s not the first time the province has brought in a special tax to raise funds for a major event.

Many noticed a surge in prices in 2007 for the Vancouver Olympics as the province enacted a temporary additional 4% Resort Area Tax to the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

The MRDT remains at 3% in Whistler and the revenues are reinvested back into the community, according to the municipalities website.

With files from Kenneth Chan

Claire FentonClaire Fenton

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