SWO tourism gets $7-million boost

Funds are part of a $68.5 million federal relief package to support the southern Ontario tourism sector

TOURISM ORGANIZATIONS IN Southwestern Ontario are receiving a $7 million in federal funding aimed at helping businesses safely welcome back visitors, recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare for growth.

On Wednesday, Helena Jaczek, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a $68.5-million investment to support Indigenous Tourism Ontario and 11 regional tourism organizations in southern Ontario.

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The Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (SWOTC), a provincially mandated Regional Tourism Organization for Southwestern Ontario that works with area tourism industry stakeholders such as Tourism London, will receive $7 million of the relief support.

Overall, tourism organizations will receive a combined $65 million to distribute amounts of up to $100,000 to businesses and organizations to innovate and invest in new and enhanced experiences that will attract visitors from within Canada and around the world.

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The investment is expected to support as many as 1,300 tourism entities and create or maintain as many as 4,100 jobs.

“The Government of Canada investment announced today will ensure small tourism businesses and organizations in southern Ontario are supported as they find new and innovative ways to attract visitors,” says Jaczek in a press release. “The tourism sector is vital to communities and drives economic growth in local economies in southern Ontario and across Canada. Our government will continue to ensure the tourism sector has the tools it needs to recover so it is well-positioned for a strong and resilient economic future.”

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In addition to the $65 million for tourism organizations, an investment of $3.5 million is going to Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO), which will provide non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 to Indigenous businesses, not-for-profit organizations, Band Councils and Indigenous communities to invest in new or enhanced tourism experiences, upgrade tourism assets, and attract domestic and international tourists.

ITO will also deliver the Renew Indigenous Tourism program to support Indigenous organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs as they work to recover from the pandemic. This investment will support up to 40 Indigenous projects to create and maintain up to 100 jobs. SWO tourism gets $7-million boost tourism Tourism

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