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NEW DETAILS about the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program

NEW DETAILS about the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program to Support Tourism Businesses in Attraction, Accommodation, and Leisure Travel Sectors 

The Ministry has provided additional details about the $100 million Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP), which will launch on October 13, 2021: 

Application timeline:  

  • Applications will open on October 13 and will be available for one month. The closing date for applications is November 10, 2021. 

  • The review process will take 8 weeks – the program is very competitive (there is no guarantee that applications will be successful even if they meet all of the eligibility criteria) 

  • Submitted applications can be revised prior to the deadline by contacting the program mailbox at OTRP@ontario.ca  

Evaluation criteria: 

  • Key visitation driver to the tourism region  

  • Significant employer  

  • Key revenue generator  

  • Business reinvestment (assessed by net income) 

  • Market readiness (assessed by visitor origin – e.g., from local, provincial, national, or international markets) 

Financial documents: 

  • Audited financial statements are NOT required to apply. Financial statements (income sheet and balance statement) can be prepared internally or externally (e.g., by using a bookkeeping or financial service), and they must be accompanied by a signed and dated statement from the company’s chief financial officer certifying the accuracy of the financial information. The chief financial officer is an internal business staff person with responsibility for the company’s finances (e.g., VP of Finance, Director of Finance, or even the GM or President of the company).  

Applicants must be legally incorporated (federally or provincially) as of January 1, 2018: 

  • The terms and conditions of the OTRP require this legal business structure  

  • The requirement to be incorporated since January 1, 2018 is to assess historical revenue and visitation numbers  

Documents to show visitor numbers for fiscal year end 2018 and 2019: 

  • A visitor is anyone who pays to be there at the site  

  • Eligible tourism businesses will be asked to attest to the accuracy of the total visitor numbers as well as the breakdown by visitor origin. Applicant businesses are asked to submit 2018 and 2019 visitor numbers based on their own tracking methods and to attest to their accuracy. As tourism businesses collect this data in various formats, the application form will include suggestions to frame applicant responses. 

The Tourism Recovery Program will support for-profit tourism businesses in the attraction, accommodation, and leisure travel sectors that help drive employment and visitors to their regions. Eligible businesses include hotels, inns, resorts, boat tours, ski hills, distilleries, hunting and fishing camps, airlines, motor coaches, live performance venues, cinemas, drive-in theatres, amusement parks, museums, and Indigenous attractions. 

The Tourism Recovery Program will support tourism businesses that have experienced a loss of at least 50% of eligible revenue in 2020-21 compared to 2019. Eligible applicants will receive up to 20% of 2020-2021 qualifying revenue losses with a funding cap of $1 million. Program funding will go towards helping businesses reopen safely, develop innovative tourism products, and/or retain and create tourism jobs. Eligible expenses 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. 

For a full list of eligible businesses, activities, and application details, visit the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program page here. Full program details, including all eligibility criteria and application requirements, will be available when the application portal opens on October 13.