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Findings from TIAO’s Survey on Reopening and Recovery Challenges

Findings from TIAO’s Survey on Reopening and Recovery Challenges

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ontario’s tourism businesses have been wide-ranging and significant. After fifteen months of closures, job losses, layoffs, revenue losses, and mounting debt, the tourism industry faces a long process of recovering and rebuilding. As Ontario moves to Steps 2 and 3 this summer under the province’s Roadmap to Reopen framework, many tourism businesses are encountering challenges to reopening, rebuilding, and long-term recovery just as provincial and federal supports begin to wind down.  

In June, TIAO conducted a survey to collect up-to-date information on the current challenges facing tourism business operations as the province is reopening. The survey sought to: 

1) Examine the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ontario’s tourism businesses; 

2) Analyze whether the impact of COVID-19 on tourism businesses has worsened in key areas such as revenue loss, debt, and financial sustainability compared to previously collected data; and 

3) Understand what tourism businesses need to rebuild and support long-term recovery. 

The results of the survey show a worsening picture of financial health affecting business capacity to reopen and prospects for long-term recovery:  

  • 9 out of 10 of tourism businesses reported experiencing a revenue decline due to COVID-19, with two-thirds of these businesses seeing revenue declines of more than 90%—a two-fold increase since March 2021 

  • 77% of tourism businesses have taken on debt to remain afloat—a 9-point increase from March 2021 

  • Almost half of all businesses cannot hire staff because they are not generating enough revenue.   

  • 77% of tourism businesses accessing government aid programs would have shut down without them 

  • With no changes in current levels of government support, financing, or sales, 3 in 10 businesses may be at risk of closure by the end of September 

The full findings of this survey are available in our new report, ‘The Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19 on Ontario’s Tourism Businesses and Capacities to Reopen, Rebuild, and Recover.’ As the last industry to recover in Ontario, this report shows that continued government support is necessary to have a chance at long-term economic recovery. It demonstrates that reopening does not mean recovery—reopening must not become a substitute for vital government aid. 

To view the report please click here.