SCT operates on a public/private funding model from 3 primary sources:
Additional Funding Sources
Sunshine Coast Tourism leverages the primary funding received from the sources mentioned above into other programs, grants, contracts, and opportunities.
Visitor Services Contracts
Sunshine Coast Tourism is the current fee-for-service contract holder with both the District of Sechelt and the Town of Gibsons to operate their respective Visitor Information Centres. The contracts provided cover the costs of operating the Centres (including staffing). Other Visitor Services offerings in the region, including the Pender Harbour and Powell River Visitor Centres, and the Ferry Ambassador Program, are run by other organizations.
Federal & Provincial Grants
Sunshine Coast Tourism regularly pursues federal and provincial grant opportunities. Examples of past grants awarded to Sunshine Coast Tourism include the Canada Summer Jobs Program, Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Economic & Infrastructure Innovation Program, Google Ad Grants for Non-Profits, BC Rural Dividend Fund, the Federal Active Transportation Fund, InnovateBC’s Digital Skills For Youth, plus many other funding opportunities that have arisen from Covid-19 government recovery funding.
Destination BC’s Co-Operative Marketing Partnerships Program
The Co-op Program supports the provincial tourism strategy to sustainably grow the visitor economy through innovative marketing and to increase tourism revenues which provide social and economic benefits for residents of British Columbia.
The above funds are pooled by SCT to apply for Destination BC’s Co-operative Marketing Partnerships Program, which provides $1 for $1 matched funds for approved marketing programs for Regional DMO’s like Sunshine Coast Tourism.
Since the program’s inception in 2016, SCT has secured over $1.2 million dollars in Provincial matched funding investment to help cooperatively market the Sunshine Coast region as a year-round tourism destination. We are always looking to create new ways in which to collaborate with our partners. Throughout the year, we offer to our members a number of subsidized co-operative ad opportunities alongside SCT branded advertisements, promoting travel to the region.
Municipal & Regional District Tax FAQ
Please see these Frequently Asked Questions about the MRDT program. For more detailed questions regarding applying the tax, please refer to Bulletin PST 120, Accommodation, and Provincial Sales Tax Notice. For more detailed questions regarding the provincial management of the MRDT program, please visit Destination BC.
What is the MRDT?
The Municipal & Regional District Tax is a provincial consumer tax of either 2% or 3% collected on the purchase of accommodations (added to a visitor’s room bill) in specific geographic areas of the province on behalf of municipalities, regional districts or eligible entities.
How does the MRDT work?
The MRDT is a provincial tax program that individual regions can choose to “opt-in” to via an application with a majority of eligible accommodations’ approval. Once a region opts-in, all eligible accommodations in that region will levy the tax on their guests’ room bills (often alongside PST and GST). The money collected is then remitted to the Province, which is then dispersed back to the region’s designated recipient to be used for Destination Marketing. This is the primary funding source for most tourism organizations in British Columbia, and is a common program in many places throughout the world. MRDT is currently collected in 55 communities across the Province with 21 of the 55 communities collecting MRDT at 3%.
What is a “designated recipient”?
A designated recipient is responsible to the Province for MRDT. A designated recipient can be a municipality, a regional district, or an eligible entity. An eligible entity is typically a not-for-profit society such as a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), and on the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Tourism is the eligible entity for the entire region (includes all of the Sunshine Coast and Qathet Regional Districts and the municipalities within).
Where in British Columbia is the MRDT levied?
MRDT is currently collected in 55 communities across the Province with 21 of the 55 communities collecting MRDT at 3%, and the others at 2%. This is the primary funding source for most tourism boards in British Columbia, and is a common program in many places throughout the world. To see the most up-to-date list of communities in BC that collect MRDT, please see Bulletin PST 120, Accommodation.
Who is the designated recipient for our region?
Sunshine Coast Tourism is the “designated recipient” for our region (includes all of the Sunshine Coast and qathet (Powell River) Regional Districts. This means that after the collected money is remitted to the Province, the Province dispurses the funds back to Sunshine Coast Tourism on a monthly basis.
Does our region collect 2% or 3%?
The Sunshine Coast, which includes all areas of the Sunshine Coast Regional District and qathet (Powell River) Regional District, and the municipalities within, currently collects 2%. A future increase to 3% would require a new application and approval by the majority of traditional accommodations.
What are the eligible uses of MRDT funds?
The Designated Accommodation Area Tax Regulation sets out the authorized purposes for revenue under the MRDT program. Authorized purposes of MRDT revenue for all designated recipients are tourism marketing, programs and projects. Some designated recipients are authorized to use revenue for other purposes as set out in the regulation.
Spending on tourism marketing, programs or projects under the MRDT should contribute to the increase of local tourism revenue, visitation, and economic benefits. Spending related to affordable housing initiatives should assist communities to address local needs related to affordable housing.
How much money has the Sunshine Coast collected under the MRDT program?
After a successful application submission to the Ministry of Finance, in August of 2016, all eligible accommodation providers within the qathet Regional District and the Sunshine Coast Regional District (north and south coast) began collecting from consumers the 2% MRDT on behalf of Sunshine Coast Tourism for regional destination marketing services.
(4 months only)
When is the next MRDT renewal?
This program has a duration of 5 years and a renewal application must be filed to the Ministry of Finance 6 months before the current end date of the program. Sunshine Coast Tourism’s end date is currently August 1, 2026 with a renewal submission date of February 1, 2025.