I am Ian Maw, Director of Marketing at Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa and when time permits, the volunteer chair of Tourism Harrison, our village’s Destination Marketing Organisation. As printed on this same page three years ago at election time, I again have the pleasure of correcting some misinformation included in an election flyer entitled Food for Thought.
Overnight guests in the village subsidize Tourism Harrison not the residents. The bulk of Tourism Harrison’s revenues come as a result of a 2% tax on hotel, motel and B&B guest rooms located in the village. The taxpayers of Harrison Hot Springs provide less than 10% of the annual operating costs of the `Tourist Office` or about $39,000 (this contribution from the village was in place when candidate Allen was mayor).
The Visitors Centre (Tourism Office) is open in the off season with reduced hours because visitors don’t stop coming to Harrison Hot Springs. There are a number of tourism centres and offices open year round in British Columbia, our industry doesn’t close when the weather becomes less appealing.
Our seven year old Ford Escape was purchased utilizing visitors tax dollars and was paid off three years ago. It is put to very good use and acts as a rolling village marketing device.
The size (area) of the community has nothing to do with the power it has as a tourism destination. Harrison Hot Springs enjoys more overnight hotel, motel and B&B stays than the City of Chilliwack, a city 50 times the size of Harrison in terms of land area.
It is the job of Tourism Harrison to provide marketing support to this community as a travel destination. More visitors to Harrison Hot Springs results in a sustainable and relatively clean industry that generates tax revenue to the community that can then offer more services at a reduced cost to the village taxpayer. If you have any questions regarding the above, I am available in my office at the Resort from Monday to Friday.
In future, may I recommend that those seeking election in Harrison Hot Springs read this newspaper on a regular basis as a means of becoming fully prepared when they run for office, it may result in success!