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Ontario government investing $100M in Tourism Recovery Program


September 27, 2021
By Bakers Journal


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If your bakery drives visitors to your region, or if you’re taking part in tourist events like The Butter Tart Trail, it’s time to consider your bakery a tourist destination: The Ontario government is investing $100 million through the new Tourism Recovery Program to help stabilize the province’s tourism industry as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.

The program will help for-profit tourism businesses in the attraction, accommodation, and leisure travel sectors protect critical jobs in communities across the province and help them prepare to reopen and safely welcome back visitors. This presents an opportunity for bakeries considering creating a food-related festival, or creating a tourist destination out of a bakery event.

Prior to the pandemic, tourism generated more than $36 billion in economic activity and supported hundreds of thousands of jobs in Ontario. According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, tourism‐related industries experienced a loss of 94,000 jobs between August 2019 and August 2021.

“The last 18-months of the pandemic have been the most challenging Ontario’s tourism industry has ever faced. Previously an economic powerhouse for the province, tourism has been hit by the triple threat that COVID-19 represents – a health, economic and social crisis,” said Minister MacLeod in a statement. “This critical funding will help support regionally significant businesses, while protecting jobs in communities that rely on the tourism industry.”

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Businesses that help drive employment and visitors to their regions are eligible to apply for the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program. These organizations are key employers and tourism generators in all regions of the province. Eligible tourism businesses include inns and lodges, agricultural or farm-based sites such as orchards, farms and their bakeries, indigenous-owned businesses. It does not include bars and restaurants where live performances are not the primary feature of their operations.

The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program will support tourism businesses that have experienced a loss of at least 50 per cent of eligible revenue in 2020-21 compared to 2019. Program funding will help successful applicants prepare to reopen safely, develop innovative tourism products, retain and create tourism jobs, and support tourism recovery in their region and throughout Ontario.

Successful recipients will have the flexibility to apply funds to any eligible expenses and do what makes the most sense for their businesses. Expenses could include reopening and operating costs such as staff salaries and maintenance, health and safety measures for visitors and workers, tourism product and experience development, or marketing.

Applications for this program will open on October 13, 2021.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply visit www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/awards_funding/OTRP.shtml.