The Ontario government is providing $100 million to help small tourism businesses, and $100 million for a new one-time recovery program.
Premier Doug Ford, and Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, were in Niagara Monday to announce the funding.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism generated more than $36 billion in economic activity, and supported 400,000 jobs in Ontario. As a direct result of the pandemic, the tourism sector has lost more than $18 billion in revenue alone and more than 200,000 jobs.
The grant will provide one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses, including hotels, motels, travel agencies, amusement and water parks, hunting and fishing camps, and recreational and vacation camps. Businesses must demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline, and have less than 100 employees to qualify.
The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program will support established and proven tourism businesses that have been hit hardest by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and are key employers and tourism generators in all regions of the province.
Lord Mayor Betty Disero was invited to be part of the announcement — the first in-person meeting she has attended since December, she said.
“The grant should help a lot of small businesses,” she said, encouraging business owners “to apply and get whatever they can to help get them through this.”