On Sunday (May 31), federal minister of economic development Mélanie Joly announced $30 million in federal funding to support tourism and recovery efforts across southern Ontario.
In Ontario, tourism accounts for $39.4 billion of GDP and directly and indirectly supports more than 820,000 jobs.
The funding, which is part of the federal government’s national $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, will flow through FedDev Ontario to the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO). The funding is intended to provide financial relief to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) across southern Ontario that have experienced significant revenue shortfalls.
DMOs are not-for-profit organizations that help promote and market local attractions, accommodation options, tourism services, transportation, associated retail stores, restaurants, and events. Members of the organizations typically include hotels, restaurants, transportation organizations, tourism operators, retailers, and other tourism-dependent businesses in a local community.
There are 66 DMOs in southern Ontario, including Peterborough & The Kawarthas Tourism, Kawartha Lakes Tourism, and Northumberland Tourism in the Kawarthas region.
“The tourism sector is vital to the economic fabric of southern Ontario and has suffered tremendously by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says TIAO president and CEO Beth Potter. “We are pleased to deliver this fund in partnership with FedDev Ontario, to support destination marketing organizations during these difficult times and to continue to promote tourism in communities across southern Ontario.”
The relief funding will be used by DMOs to help encourage visitors to return to local communities as Ontario’s economy reopens, supporting tourism-dependent businesses and helping local economic recovery.
DMOs can apply for the relief funding beginning on Friday, June 5th through the TIAO’s website at tiaontario.ca/cpages/rrrf.
The amount of funding available to individual DMOs will be determined by TIAO, based on each DMO’s annual operating budget. TIAO will be releasing additional details on the project in the coming days.