Public invited to complete survey relating to new Tourism Management plan

(Gazette file photo)

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

On the heels of an especially busy summer, the municipality is asking for public feedback on a new Tourism Management Plan. The plan is being developed at the direction of council to help address the challenges that resulted from the influx of tourists this past season.

After a particularly busy summer season, staff at all levels of the municipality gained a tremendous amount of first-hand knowledge,” read a press release from the County of Prince Edward. “To develop the plan, a number of municipal departments are working together to identify these challenges as well as feasible solutions.”

The Tourism Management Plan is short-term, with no intention to directly address long term issues related to manageable growth or development of the tourism sector.

The County is also undertaking a Destination Development Plan, looking five to seven years in the future. Public consultations regarding this are slated to begin in November.

In order to help inform the new plan, the public is encouraged to provide input via an online survey.

The survey touches on specific matters that have been identified by the municipality as needing th most improvement as well as ideas managing the flow and impact of tourists.

The survey also touches on how residents believe funds from the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) should be spent.

The new MAT will come into effect February 1, 2020. Detailed industry consultation on this will take place in November and December 2020.

As previously discussed around the horseshoe, the new four per cent MAT would be used to support the resources and services accessed by the thousands of tourists that flock to the region.

The MAT is also intended to help the municipality grow their investment in the tourism industry without increasing taxes for local residents.

The provincial government has allowed municipalities to implement a MAT since 2017, while mandating that 50 per cent be used for infrastructure or services to support tourism and the other 50 per cent to be used by an eligible tourism entity to support tourism promotion and development.

The information received via the survey will help shape a list of activities and prioritize areas of concern for summer 2021. Staff are expecting to present a proposed Tourism Management Plan to Council in January 2021.

The public will be able to access the online survey until October 28, 2020.

The public is encouraged to visit the municipal public consultation website, Have Your Say, for more information on the public consultation process for the Municipal Accommodation Tax and the Tourism Management Plan.

To access the survey, please visit: https://haveyoursay.thecounty.ca/tourism-management-plan-2