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Every year, thousands and thousands of individuals flock to Niagara Falls, Ont., shelling out a whole bunch of dollars for motels, restaurants and points of interest clustered around the towering falls. But at some companies, guests are finding a contentious tourism fee is now a mandatory part of their bill. CBC's Market, which has seemed into the tourism fee before, returned to Niagara Falls with hidden cameras in January to see how issues have modified after receiving dozens of complaints from customers concerning the price. Tourism charges are not uncommon in cities across Canada.


But in Niagara Falls, there's no impartial physique overseeing the funds and making certain that the cash goes back into promoting the city. Chris Gallagher booked a room at the Wyndham Garden Hotel last August. When he arrived at the hotel, with household in tow, and asked if the payment could possibly be faraway from his bill — one thing he had completed on earlier visits — employees advised him the price was non-negotiable.


Gallagher discovered a room at the quality Inn & Suites, and was relieved that the payment there was eliminated there upon request. In Niagara Falls, the charge can usually be discovered at the bottom of vacationers' bills, beneath the harmonized gross sales tax (HST). It might be labelled a tourism enchancment payment (TIF), a Niagara Falls vacation spot charge (NFDF) or a destination advertising charge (DMF).


Whereas the initial notion was that the price could be voluntary, in Niagara Falls, some companies are actually saying it is necessary. Danielle Orpwood booked a room online at the Four Factors by Sheraton Hotel in Niagara Falls final yr. Forty on her general bill. Marketplace in an email. In addition, the hotel has doubled the price within the last year, upping the charge to 10 per cent.


The IHOP restaurant is another business where an employee stated the payment is necessary. The restaurant has increased its payment, too: it used to charge shoppers three per cent, however the cost now sits at six per cent. Staff at several different institutions, together with Embassy Suites by Hilton, East Facet Mario's, and TGI Fridays, informed Marketplace's hidden camera-toting staffers that the price is mandatory.

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Nonetheless, each East Facet Mario's and TGI Fridays removed the fee when asked about it. Market reached out to all the companies mentioned, however none replied instantly with particulars about the payment. There are other companies, however, opting out of charging tourism charges altogether, like Applebee's restaurant. RockWorld, a memorabilia store, has put up an indication stating it doesn't charge the tourism price, so there isn't any confusion for patrons. Where does the money go? When staff at the businesses visited by Market had been requested on hidden digital camera in regards to the charges, several mentioned the money goes towards serving to with initiatives like fireworks, flowers and festivals in the town.


John Law, a neighborhood reporter and critic of the best way the payment has been carried out, said he thinks the province must act. Eleanor McMahon, Ontario's tourism minister, said the payment is an industry-led concern however agreed to look into it. Mayor Jim Diodati mentioned in an interview last week. The mayor and the tourism minister have agreed to discuss the problem.

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