Province gives boost to tourism sector

Qualifying Ontario businesses can apply for up to $1 million in financial assistance through a new tourism recovery program

TOURISM BUSINESSES THAT have lost at least half their revenue during the pandemic can apply for a new recovery program, the Government of Ontario has announced.

The $100-million program will open to applicants in the attraction, accommodation and leisure travel sectors in October, with a mandate to stabilize Ontario’s tourism industry as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Across Canada, revenue in the travel and tourism industry has dropped by approximately 90 per cent since the onset of the pandemic. In Ontario, where prior to the pandemic tourism generated more than $36 billion in economic activity, the picture is similar.

“The last 18 months of the pandemic have been the most challenging Ontario’s tourism industry has ever faced. Previously an economic powerhouse for the province, tourism has been hit by the triple threat that Covid-19 represents — a health, economic and social crisis,” says Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, in a media release.

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Beginning October 13, Ontario tourism businesses that have experienced a loss of at least 50 per cent of eligible revenue in 2020-21 compared to 2019 will be able to apply for up to $1 million in funding ― or 20 per cent of their lost revenue ― each.

Successful recipients will have the flexibility to apply funds to any eligible expenses and do what makes the most sense for their businesses.

Here are the types of for-profit, legally incorporated businesses eligible to apply:

  • Bed and breakfast establishments, not including short- and long-term property rentals, rooming houses and employee housing;
  • Seasonal and year-round resorts;
  • Hotels, motels, inns and lodges, not including residential hotels, guest homes, student or employee housing or membership or time-share rentals;
  • Hunting and fishing camps and lodges;
  • Cottages and cabins;
  • Campgrounds and RV parks, not including permanent residential mobile home sites;
  • Farm-based tourist attractions, not including farms only offering pick-your-own or retail sales;
  • Amusement parks, theme parks, water parks and midway operators;
  • Indoor and outdoor recreational attractions, not including sports facilities, stadiums, arenas, amateur and professional sports and hobby teams, clubs and recreational leagues, gyms, fitness facilities, tour guides without facilities and rental-only operations;
  • In-province sightseeing tour companies;
  • Zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums and eco- and nature centres;
  • Museums and historic and heritage attractions, not including retail galleries and stores;
  • Performing arts, music and entertainment venues, not including night clubs, dance halls, private members clubs, bars and restaurants where live performance are not a primary feature;
  • Cinemas;
  • Boat tours, not including freight and commercial transportation vessels, water taxis or personal rental boats;
  • Marinas;
  • Convention and conference centres, not including arenas, stadiums, offices, or residential or commercial buildings with meeting spaces;
  • Destination spas, not including medical spas, physical therapy centres, day spas offering aesthetic treatments or non-RMT massage, massage therapy centres or “exotic” massage parlours;
  • Wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries that offer visitor experiences and tours;
  • Golf courses, not including private or membership-only golf courses or minigolf courses;
  • Ski and snow attractions;
  • Commercial passenger airlines;
  • Scheduled or chartered intercity passenger bus services.

For more information, including a list of ineligible businesses and attractions, click here. Province gives boost to tourism sector Tourism Tourism

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