Ontario’s support for tourism includes travel agencies.
The Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant unveiled in yesterday’s (March 24) budget provides an estimated $100 million in one‑time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses.
And travel agencies, along with hotels, motels, amusement and waterparks, hunting and fishing camps and recreational and vacation camps (e.g., children’s overnight summer camps), are included on the list of eligible businesses.
As they look ahead to the upcoming spring and summer tourism season, these eligible small businesses can apply for support to help them recover from the impacts of COVID‑19 as well as to help create and protect jobs.
Businesses must demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline and have less than 100 employees to qualify.
Applying online will be easy and further details can be obtained at Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport .
Any small businesses that received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will not be eligible for this new grant.
The 2021 Budget papers note that the province’s tourism, hospitality, culture, sports and recreation sectors have been among the most heavily impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic.
It points out that tourism and hospitality‑related industries experienced a total combined loss of 140,1001 jobs between February 2020 and 2021.
In response to the unique challenges these sectors are facing, Ontario is announcing a wide range of initiatives to help the tourism, hospitality and culture sectors survive the COVID‑19 pandemic and thrive in the future. In the 2021 Budget, Ontario is investing more than $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support these sectors. This builds on investments of $225 million announced earlier, bringing the total to more than $625 million since the pandemic began.
The province is also introducing the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program, a new $100 million initiative for 2021–22 to help tourism operators, anchor businesses and attractions recover from the impacts of COVID‑19.
This initiative will provide support for historically successful businesses that have helped to drive employment and visitation in their regions by assisting with costs related to restructuring, safe reopening, recalibrated marketing activities and partnership development.
Public health and safety measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID‑19, while necessary, have affected tourism across Ontario.
In the 2020 Budget, the government announced that it would explore ways to provide Ontario residents with support of up to 20% for eligible Ontario tourism expenses to encourage them to discover the province in 2021. To this end, the government has set aside $150 million and intends to introduce legislation for a tax credit to encourage residents to explore Ontario when public health experts advise that it is safe to travel.
Ontario is also committing to supporting tourism across the province through increased funding of up to $15 million for the Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) in 2021–22.
The initiative will help stabilize and support the tourism sector’s efforts to attract domestic and international visitors when it is safe to do so. It will support the continued operation of Destination Toronto, Ottawa Tourism, and the 11 additional RTOs for the recovery of regional tourism, and to maintain and produce new, innovative tourism services and experiences under a modernized mandate.