Partnership program will provide accommodation tax funds to third-party initiatives that promote tourism

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The Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association (HMATA) announced a new partnership program last week that will distribute some of the funds collected through the tax to organizations promoting tourism through their own initiatives.

The Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT), which came into effect on April 1, 2019, is a mandatory four per cent tax collected from most short-term accommodations including hotels, motels, lodges, inns, and bed and breakfasts.

Seventy per cent of the net tax revenues are directed to the HMATA for the purpose of promoting and developing tourism within Huntsville and attracting more visitors, particularly during the spring and fall shoulder seasons. , who’s primary focus is to build occupancy in Huntsville. The other 30 per cent is retained by the Town of Huntsville “for projects and initiatives that promote and support tourism and economic development efforts that benefit residents and visitors,” according to a release from HMATA.

The association is releasing $150,000 of the funds collected so far to support “other organizations who can drive occupancy growth in Huntsville.”

“Although the work of our board is primarily focused on completing a longer-term Tourism Plan in conjunction with Huntsville’s Economic Development office, we also recognize the importance of putting some of what has been collected into the market and testing how the efforts of other organizations with a stake in growing tourism can drive occupancies with a little help from these tax dollars,” said Jesse Hamilton, HMATA chair and general manager of Deerhurst Resort, in the release. “We are launching the Partnership Program today to explore how we can assist in funding new and existing programs and activities that align with the mission of our board.”

Both for-profit and not-for-profit entities can apply for a portion of the funding to be used for activities that drive tourism, including fees for artists, performers, and speakers; security and visitor transportation costs; marketing; and capital equipment costs like tents or staging.

Funds could be used for a variety of tourism-related activities like events like festivals, conferences or conventions, or for marketing campaigns. “I think the world is their oyster,” said Kelly Haywood, executive director of the Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce. “At the end of the day the board really just wants to build occupancy…they really wanted to be open to how people interpret it.”

Applications are open until Friday, November 29, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Details are available at huntsvillemat.com. Questions regarding the partnership program can be directed to [email protected] or 705.788.5847.

The HMATA board consists of the following voting members: Jesse Hamilton (chair and general manager of Deerhurst Resort), Scott Doughty (vice chair and manager of Hidden Valley Resort), Christine Kropp (secretary/treasurer, owner of Whimsical Bakery and Downtown Huntsville BIA representative), Nancy Alcock (Huntsville councillor), Matthew Phillips (Holiday Inn Express & Suites Huntsville), Kaushal Gandhi (Rainbow Inn Motel) and Jeff Suddaby (3 Guys and a Stove and Chamber of Commerce representative).

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1 Comment

  1. The best move for all available accommodation is to ensure that they are current with respect to the accessibility regulations of the AODA, 2005. If it is possible to exceed these directives, that would be a major plus; as many PWD’s are now senior citizens with the financial resources to travel. Your tourist guide book should then feature an Excel spreadsheet (repopulated annually) to indicate various accessibility features; as well as other items of tourism interest.

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