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Travel Tips

What are Resort Fees and Accommodation Taxes?

A Resort Fee is a mandatory charge by a hotel at time of check-in. This fee has nothing to do with the refundable deposit (in case of damages) or taxes that are imposed provincially or federally. It is always unadvertised and customers almost always discover this fee in the final steps of their reservation, or upon check-in or even after completing their stay.

A Resort Fee allows the hotel to advertise one low price, but then charge thier guests a much higher price after they arrive. Resort fees have no added benefit to the guests. They will still have to pay separately for parking, the internet, breakfast and other amenities.
The hotel staff such as the maintenance, cleaning, front-desk and concierge do not benifit from these charges.

Resort Fees are frequently cited in receipts with assertive terms such as TIF (Tourism Improvement Fee), DMF (Destination Marketing Fee) or a Local Fee. In truth, the city treasury never sees this money.



Sometimes you will see a combination of charges you may not immediately recognise such as in the example below:

1 room(s) for 1 night(s) Prices in CAD
Total cash rate 122.65
Destination Amenity Fee 15.95
Local Fee 9.69
Estimated government taxes and fees 19.28
Total Stay 167.57 CAD

Online booking sites such as Hotels.com and Booking.com clearly display additional charges that could be applied upon completing your reservation, next to the advertised rates. However, it may happen that while the room rate and the taxes will be processed by the website, the Resort Fee will be taken form you by the hotel upon check-in.



Resort Fees are a contentious issue in the United States, especially when nearly every hotel in cities such as New York City, Orlando, Las Vegas and Los Angeles charges a it. In Las Vegas, there is nothing stopping hotels from advertising a $1 room and then charging a $99 Resort Fee.

Such cash-grab practices by businesses especially hurt employees who depend on tips because customers will assume these fees will cover for them. You have every right to question all charges on your receipts, and can politely refuse to pay the “Tourist Fee” if you can.

Those in favor of the Resort Fee aruge that hotels need them to stay in business. It is harder than ever to turn a profit because room rates have remained stagnant compared to inflation rates. The overhead costs of labor, property taxes and maintenance are rising even higher than inflation.


  • For an indepth about Resort Fees in the United States, and get suggestions on how to dispute them, visit Lauren Wolfe’s website, Kill Resort Fees.

The Niagara Falls Municipal Accommodation Tax

Niagara Falls, Ontario is the only city in Canada that has no regulatory body overseeing the charging of Resort Fees. Here, Resort Fees are not only limited to hotels but are also found at many restaurants, gift-shops and at tourist attractions.

Such cash-grab practices by businesses especially hurt employees who depend on tips because customers will assume these fees will cover for them. You have every right to question all charges on your receipts, and can politely refuse to pay the “Tourist Fee” if you can.



In 2018, the City of Niagara Falls passed By-law No. 2018–104 to implement a mandatory Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) at a rate of $2.00 per night for stays at temporary accommodations (Hotels, Motels etc).

However this bill does not address the issue of arbitrary charges that continue to plague invoices at various Niagara Falls Establishments.

While you must pay the $2 per night local fee at your hotel, you have every right to challenge other charges on you bills. While hotels will absolutely not budge, other business may be more willing to oblige to your requests.


Watch CBC Marketplace go undercover and expose businesses charging the “Tourist Fee” in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Note: This Video was published in 2017

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