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HomeNewsTourism PG eager to ride wave of momentum into 2024

Tourism PG eager to ride wave of momentum into 2024

Tourism PG CEO Colin Carson said 2023 will be remembered as the return of the conferences as our industry saw a resurgence over the past 12 months.

With an uptick in people visiting the northern capital, this means our hotel rooms were consistently full – the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT), also called the Hotel Tax is forecasted to generate 1.9 million dollars in funding.

This is anticipated to be one of their highest totals ever, which in turn will be reinvested for marketing purposes within the local tourism sector.

In a year-end interview with MyPGNow.com, Carson stated the three-percent tax is a pretty common occurrence within most BC cities.

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“What we are forecasting as we are wrapping up 2023 is one of the best years ever for a collection of this. It means the hotel rates were high, the hotel rooms were full and then that generally results in good spending at restaurants and ancillary services.”

In March of 2017, the BC government granted the City of Prince George a tax increase to help with hotel accommodations.

The hike saw the tax jump from 2% to 3%, the maximum number a municipality can receive.

Carson noted seeing a lot of the conferences and major meetings return after a two-to-three-year hiatus to the pandemic was a major plus.

“One of the last ones to come back and it wasn’t until 2023 was the return of the conferences. That is a really big driver in the tourism industry – 2023 at the Conference and Civic Centre or at the House of Ancestors and our hoteliers, which have conference space or at UNBC saw a really strong year, which was great to see.”

While Carson admits that many parts of the country are dealing with some economic challenges – this could bode well for PG from a tourism standpoint as the northern capital is often much more affordable than many of its provincial counterparts.

“Prince George is typically a lot more affordable of a place to visit than other places in BC or Western Canada. When we are talking about our marketing campaigns we are highlighting outdoor experiences that are free or low-cost barriers to enter and our hotels are a lot less expensive than staying in Kelowna or Vancouver.”

“In terms of this upcoming uncertainty, I think this is an advantage for Prince George because we can provide a more affordable vacation than some of these other places.”

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Carson expects 2024 to kick off with a boom starting with the Natural Resources Forum followed by a pair of major skiing events held at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club.

“To have a thousand delegates in Prince George in the middle of January is excellent for those types of industries. With the conference season kicking off with that natural resources forum and going pretty strong until the spring is good for Prince George.”

The 2024 Para Biathlon World Championships and Para Nordic World Cup Finals in Prince George are scheduled from March 5 – 11 and March 12 – 17.

Lastly, Carson highlighted Tourism PG’s decision to move out of its 1st Avenue visitor centre location to the Rotunda, adjacent to the Conference and Civic Centre.

He expects the new space to fully open in the late spring or early summer of 2024.

For now, some hybrid options will be available.

Anyone looking to grab Prince George merchandise as well as physical copies of brochures and guides can visit the following locations:

Select TPG Merchandise:

  • Pharmasave City Centre (1302 7th Ave)
  • UNBC Bookstore (3333 University Way)

Mr. PG Plushies:

  • Exploration Place (333 Becott Place)

Physical Brochures and Guides:

  • Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum (850 River Rd)
  • Prince George Airport (4141 Airport Rd #10)
  • CN Centre (2187 Ospika Blvd S)

In addition, visitor councillors will have a mobile unit set up at the Pine Centre Mall during the following weekends (Friday to Sunday):

  • February 16, 17, 18
  • March 22, 23, 24
  • April 19, 20, 21
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