Canadian tourism businesses and organizations can now apply for support to welcome back visitors.
The federal government made the announcement July 12, as part of the launch of its new $500-million Tourism Relief Fund.
“Our government has been there for the tourism sector since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and (this adds) another tool to the suite of COVID supports that will help it recover and prepare for future growth and create jobs,” said Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.
Canada’s regional development agencies will deliver $485 million directly to businesses and organizations to help them adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth.
The remaining $15 million will be delivered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to support destination development, seasonal and local attractions, and human resources and skills development. This funding will help leverage the reach and expertise of national tourism organizations to support pan-Canadian or multi-regional activities addressing challenges facing the tourism sector on its path to recovery, such as conferences and events, training and research, and strengthening networks. Contributions to businesses will be either non-repayable (up to $100,000) or repayable (up to $500,000).
The federal government says it will also invest a minimum of $50 million in Indigenous tourism projects. Indigenous communities that rely heavily on tourism have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
The Tourism Relief Fund is part of a broader $1 billion package to support the tourism sector that was announced in the 2021 federal budget.
“(The) announcement reflects the federal government’s understanding of the pandemic’s impact on our industry over the past 18 months,” says Clark Grue, chair of Meetings Mean Business Canada. “We’re very pleased to see this financial support available to help Canada’s business events industry rebuild for the future.”
Tourism is a key contributor to Canada’s economy. According to Statistics Canada, the sector generated an estimated $104.4 billion in revenues in 2019, supported approximately one in 10 jobs in communities across Canada and contributed an estimated $45.1 billion in gross domestic product.