Festivals and the promotion of tourism

Policy statement

Reference number

Effective date
April 22, 1991


This policy statement outlines the Directorate's policy on the registration of applicant organizations that are associated with festivals and the promotion of tourism.


The courts have recognized as charitable organizations that are associated with festivals and the promotion of tourism, and whose range of purposes and activities can vary from promoting agriculture, improving public lands and preserving art forms, to improving efficiency in the service industry and promoting excellence in the industrial sector.


1. This policy applies to applicant organizations and registered charities that are associated with festivals and the promotion of tourism. Most organizations carry out activities that could incidentally promote tourism but do not actually deal with the promotion of tourism as such.

2. The following are examples of purposes and activities of organizations that can qualify as charitable:

  • To attract tourists: Footnote 1  maintaining, improving, or beautifying public lands and waters, by providing and enhancing facilities for public enjoyment, for example, by adding elements of beauty such as flowers, trees and buildings, strictly to enhance the beholding of such amenities by the public whose pleasure it is to visit such places for the aesthetic, local, historical interest or inspiration

  • To encourage better efficiency throughout the business community by training and equipping the service industry to respond to the needs of tourists

  • To improve the standards, efficiency and design within the industrial sector to promote excellence

  • To provide facilities and develop infrastructure for the tourism industry with an emphasis on publicizing the industrial sector in general, including all tourist attractions, as opposed to promoting a particular venture

  • To promote economic development in a region: Footnote 2  promoting agriculture by encouraging better breeding and growing practices through agricultural shows displaying produce and livestock

  • To hold concerts and other artistic events and arts and crafts exhibitions where skills are demonstrated and products are displayed for the purpose of increasing the public's understanding and appreciation for a particular art form or to promote more effective methods of preserving the art form. These fall under the category of charitable purposes known as "other purposes beneficial to the community in a way the law regards as charitable" Footnote 3  

3. The following are examples of purposes and activities associated with the promotion of tourism that cannot qualify as charitable because they are substantially social in nature: Footnote 4 

  • To hold an event or to operate a business that incidentally stimulates local tourism, for example, a festival for the sole purpose of boosting dollars into the local economy

  • To hold an event that emphasizes social activities, for example, entertainment, sports and recreation

  • To emphasize on activities that primarily benefit a privately defined segment of the community rather than the community in general, for example, to promote local innkeepers, restaurateurs, developers, commercially operated tourist attractions and other commercial interests, as opposed to improving industry-wide standards and efficiency in meeting the needs of the public

  • To emphasize on activities that promote heritage, culture or multiculturalism

4. Some organizations are governed by a combination of charitable and non-charitable purposes and activities. The following may be used as factors that can be taken into consideration and favour an application:

  • A dominant charitable purpose combined with other non-charitable purposes and activities, might be acceptable, provided they are ancillary and incidental to the dominant purpose

  • An activity to generally apply funds to services and facilities of tangible properties, and the development of an infrastructure as a framework for a tourism industry, as opposed to promoting an activity to attract large numbers of people

  • A reasoned argument by the organization to support the promotion of tourism in a particular region as a means of significantly stimulating the local economy. Footnote 5  The onus is on the organization to demonstrate that it will achieve this result

  • Circumstances where there is significant interest by civic officials to the extent that these individuals, in the course of their civic duties, are involved as officers and/or directors of the organization

5. Some organizations have charitable and non-charitable purposes and activities that can be clearly segregated. An organization can set up a separate trust for those purposes and activities that are charitable and register it. For example, an organization operates an annual festival that is generally focused on entertainment and social activities and, in addition, it commissions works of art for display at the festival and subsequently exhibited in a public museum. A charitable trust set up exclusively for obtaining and disseminating the commissioned works of art for the purpose of improving the aesthetic taste of the public can qualify as charitable.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: