Skip to Main Content


  • This week, Dr. Jessica Ng, TIAO’s Director of Policy and Government Affairs, spoke on CBC Radio’s Afternoon Drive on how the lack of attainable housing is worsening the labour crisis in Ontario’s tourism industry, making it more difficult for tourism businesses to hire the staff they need and recover more quickly.

    For housing to be deemed affordable, a general rule of thumb is that housing costs must represent no more than 30% of pre-tax household income. However, in Ontario, 46% of renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing, underscoring the increasingly limited availability of affordable housing and constraints on the current housing supply in both urban and rural destinations. Limited availability of attainable housing impedes the ability of workers to live close to where they work, impacting local and regional workforce recruitment, retention, and labour dispersion to rural tourism economies. Ultimately, lack of affordable housing limits the recovery, sustainability, and growth of local tourism activity.

    In meetings with government and in our 2022 State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report, TIAO has been advocating for attainable housing solutions, including incentivizing the development of purpose-built rentals in Ontario and requiring municipalities to not only intensify development but approve multi-unit residential buildings as part of their official plans. TIAO will continue to advocate for attainable housing solutions to support Ontario’s tourism workforce.

  • 11 May 2023 by Jessica Ng

    This week, the TIAO team delivered the inaugural IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism – ONTARIO: A Regional Event, at Queen’s University Biosciences Complex in Kingston, Ontario. In alliance with IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism - SUMMIT Victoria, the regional programming showcased thought-leaders of the tourism industry across Ontario and the globe.

    In addition to snapshots of innovation and inspiration, the conference programming included some substantive policy discussions on tourism, labour, transportation, and climate sustainability.  

    In the fireside chat with the Hon. Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, we heard about the labour crisis, rising prices facing visitors to Canada, and the ongoing efforts to ensure that tourism remains a national priority.

    In a panel on labour and sustainability, we heard about the link between paying a living wage, ethical business practices, and workforce sustainability—and the impact of the housing crisis and the rising cost of living on recruitment, retention, and workforce diversity. In the lightning talk and panel on the future of transportation in Ontario, the discussion pivoted to EV infrastructure, bus and passenger rail routes, and the role of sustainable infrastructure in attracting future economic investment. And throughout the conference, we heard about the need for a whole-of-government approach to reach net-zero and the role that tourism can and must play in advancing sustainability.  

    We thank our speakers and attendees for a productive and enlightening dialogue this week. TIAO will continue these discussions with government in our policy advocacy in the months ahead. Stay tuned for updates.  

    As always, thank you for your continued support. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me an email at

    Jessica Ng
    Director, Policy & Government Affairs

  • 27 Apr 2023 by Chris Bloore

    Tourism week organized by our national partners, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), is a special time when we celebrate our incredible industry from coast to coast to coast. This week, I was in Ottawa to join industry colleagues as we joined Federal Minister of Tourism, Randy Boissonnault, to kick off tourism week with this year's theme chosen as CANADA: Powered by Tourism.

    A theme chosen to reflect the multi-faceted role that tourism plays in the lives of all Canadians.  Up and down the country, especially in Ontario, our industry isn’t simply an essential part of our economies, but an integral part of our society, culture, and our window to the world.

    Most observers now estimate we’re at approximately 75 - 80% of pre-pandemic spending. Undoubtedly, thanks to your hard work, we’re bouncing back from one of the most difficult periods for the tourism industry.

    So, as we celebrate our industry and those that work within it. The work of advocating for our industry, whether it be for the sole proprietor, the small family business, or internationally renowned businesses continues at a pace on the following critical files:

    • We still await the Federal Government’s Tourism Growth Strategy, a critical document that will showcase the government’s commitment to provide the most conducive environment for the tourism industry to grow.
    • We’re in dialogue with Ontario’s regional development agencies to ensure that monies promised for the tourism industry in the Federal Budget are efficiently and effectively distributed within Ontario.
    • Our debt research study in partnership with TIAC and Nanos research is in its final phase as we continue to fight for meaningful debt relief for tourism businesses.
    • TIAO is leading an industry working group on the MAT Tax to ensure that the tourism industry has equitable access to revenues created by our industry.
    • TIAO is set to host a series of roundtables and put forward recommendations to reform the tax system to incentive investment and expansion. This is in response to the Ontario government’s planned consultation on the tax system announced in the provincial budget.
    • TIAO continues to fight for a provincial strategy and accompanying investment to ensure that Ontario ‘s tourism industry can credibly compete with our domestic and international competitors in attracting visitors, business events, conferences, trade shows, and sporting and cultural events to Ontario.

    On behalf of the entire TIAO team, I would like to thank every TIAO member and partner for your continued support in aiding our advocacy work. As ever, if you have any questions or would like to raise a specific issue with the TIAO team, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

    In the meantime, don’t forget to keep an eye out for our complimentary Forward Motion sessions and Building Inclusive Tourism webinar series that continue to offer to provide thoughtful conversations and useful resources on key issues.

    Chris Bloore
    President & CEO

  • TIAO attended the inaugural #USCanadaSummit, representing Ontario’s tourism industry in as a key priority for both US & Canada. 

    Thank you EurasiaGroup and BMO for bringing together leaders from both sides of the border to discuss economic growth, and making room for important conversations.



  • 06 Apr 2023 by Sapphire Supersad

    As a sacred month for Muslims of the Islamic faith, being aware of Ramadan practices and how they may affect employees in the workplace and during work hours is important to building an inclusive and supportive work environment. 

    As a Muslim, I was excited to share with my TIAO teammates what Ramadan is and why it’s significant, as it’s a special time for Muslims to spiritually grow closer to Allah (name of God in Islam) and seek forgiveness, with fasting (Sawm) from sunrise to sunset every day in this Islamic month, as well as partaking in additional prayers (Taraweeh) and charity (Zakat). I was happy to know my teammates were interested in learning about a topic that is very important to me and appreciated being given a platform to discuss it.  I prepared a Ramadan Crash Course for my team to talk about this important month, which can be viewed here for more information.

    While employers don’t need to become experts on the subject, understanding what Ramadan is and how it’s observed is a great place to start learning. Opening the line of communication is also an opportunity to gain insight for your specific team; inviting your Muslim employees to share about Ramadan and what ways you and your team can support them demonstrates open-mindedness and respect. I highly encourage employers and employees alike to learn more about Ramadan and other religious practices, as knowledge and education are crucial o navigating an increasingly diverse workplace.  


  • 16 Mar 2023 by Jessica Ng

    Next week, on March 23, the provincial government is set to introduce its 2023 budget. We’re grateful to our partners for supporting the tourism industry’s short-term and long-term goals in their pre-budget submissions and over the past many months. A quick note of thanks to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for amplifying our advocacy of key tourism asks—you can read their pre-budget submission here.

    The following week, on March 28, the federal government will release its 2023 budget. As the federal government is looking to finalize their priorities for the 2023 fiscal year, our advocacy to remove red tape for tourism businesses continues. In support of Beer Canada’s campaign and our partners at the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) and Restaurants Canada, we sent a letter to Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, calling on the federal government to freeze the federal excise tax on beer, wine, and spirits. The federal excise tax on beverage alcohol is set to automatically increase by 6.3% on April 1st. This will impact not only Ontario’s breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries, but the tourism and hospitality operators who sell beverage alcohol as part of the visitor experience.

    The increase to the federal excise tax will come at a time when tourism and hospitality businesses are still slow to recover and dealing with rising operating costs, supply chain issues, and recruitment and retention challenges. For producers and vendors of beverage alcohol, a record increase in the federal excise tax will only exacerbate current challenges by reducing revenue, reducing cash flow, and creating costs that operators will not be able to fully absorb. If passed onto consumers, the rising prices of affected tourism products and experiences may dampen visitor demand, creating yet another blow for hard-hit businesses.

    In our letter to Minister Freeland, we echoed the recommendation put forward by Beer Canada to freeze the federal excise tax on beer, wine, and spirits for fiscal years 2023 and 2024 until inflation returns to the Bank of Canada’s 1% to 3% target range. You can read our letter here.

    Meanwhile, we will continue to work with our partners on other regulatory and policy measures that support the growth and competitiveness of Ontario-owned brick and mortar craft breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries, which attract millions of visitors per year and contribute directly to tourism revenue.

    This week, we also sent a letter to the federal government regarding the Canada Summer Jobs program. We’ve heard from stakeholders about the need to better leverage this program to not only support operators during peak commercial periods, but as a means to promote tourism career awareness, build transferable skills, and attract young workers to our industry. To support our future pipeline of talent and help train Ontario’s future workforce, we called for tourism and hospitality sectors to be given a higher quota of Canada Summer Jobs positions, particularly in regions where these jobs are in high demand. You can read our letter here.

    Finally, we’re aware of local bylaw issues that have created more red tape for some campground operators, impacting their capacity to renovate and expand while deterring new operators from entering the local campground market. We are working with our colleagues at Camping in Ontario to address this issue and reach a solution that will support the capacity of local campgrounds to continue offering innovative and competitive visitor experiences.

    As always, thank you for your continued support. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me an email at


    Jessica Ng
    Director, Policy & Government Affairs


  • TIAO was thrilled to attend the Feast On the Farm Industry Day in Niagara Benchlands. Dr. Jessica Ng, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, and Caitlyn Drexler, Senior Policy Analyst, presented findings from the 2022 State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report, highlighting red tape facing local operators, the need for a tourism workforce strategy, and opportunities to grow agritourism in Niagara Benchlands. TIAO thanks the Town of Lincoln, Niagara Benchlands, the Culinary Tourism Alliance, Fieldstone at Bench, and Bench Brewing Company for a wonderful (and delicious) event!

  • TIAO attended the Southern Ontario Conference, hosted by Ontario’s Southwest (OSW) and Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA), in Hamilton. This was an excellent two and half days of insightful and energizing content from great keynote speakers and innovative thought leaders and operators. TIAO's State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report was highlighted on stage as a key document in building a framework for growth and TIAO was delighted with the overwhelming positive response to the report by stakeholders. 

    TIAO’s President and CEO, Christopher Bloore, was fortunate enough to be asked to host the award ceremony and help to shine a spotlight on some of the innovation and ingenuity on display throughout Southern Ontario's tourism industry. Congratulations to Executive Director’s Joanne Wolnik (Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation) and Maria Fortunato (Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association) for bringing us together for such an impactful agenda and for your leadership over the past twelve months (and much longer) in Ontario's tourism industry. 

  • 23 Feb 2023 by Sapphire Supersad

    Originally announced at OTS21, under the title “Game On B.C”, the Advancing Sustainable Tourism in Ontario project has the goal of making Ontario the most sustainable province in Canada. Through TIAOs partnership with GreenStep Solutions, this project intends to progress sustainability across the province and provide support along the way, guiding tourism organizations and destinations on their regenerative and sustainable tourism journey.   

    The term “sustainability” often suggests the images of the environment and climate change, remaining within a narrow scope of issues and solutions, versus what sustainability truly means and its significance beyond these areas. Sustainability, while highly involved and important to environmental issues, extends into social and economic concerns businesses and destinations may be facing. Advancing Sustainable Tourism in Ontario looks at sustainability holistically, incorporating it into management, social, economic and cultural aspects for a business or destination.  

    Having a personal interest in learning the correlation and interconnectivity of social, economic and environmental dimensions, as well as an eagerness to support destination and community development, this project encapsulates why I was thrilled to join TIAO and where I see my ideal career in the tourism industry; championing the advancement of businesses and destinations within their own organization or region and beyond.  

    Advancing Sustainable Tourism in Ontario supports the enhancement of businesses and destinations with a step-by-step process of assessing their strengths and areas for improvement, setting clear goals and actions, tracking their progress, certifying their achievements, and striving for continuous improvement. This project complements the work organizations and destinations have already done, acknowledging their efforts and pleasantly surprising them that they may have done more in the realm of sustainability than they initially thought.  

    Having the incredible opportunity to attend the IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference in Victoria, B.C, I have continued to witness that every business and destination is at a unique point in their sustainability journey – some are leading examples, while others don’t know where to begin and are looking for guidance. No matter where a business or destination is on its path to sustainable tourism, there are always opportunities to learn more and progress. Together with the sustainable tourism experts at GreenStep, I am looking forward to supporting and encouraging their efforts toward a regenerative and sustainable future.  

  • 16 Feb 2023 by Jessica Ng

    With spring just around the corner, the provincial and federal governments are in the process of writing their 2023 budgets, set to be released in the coming weeks and months. But while other sectors have moved forward along with the rest of Ontario and Canada, tourism’s recovery remains slow and uneven. Tourism businesses are still dealing with the lasting impacts of unprecedented revenue losses, six-figure debts, and the displacement of tourism workers to other industries—along with new challenges like supply chain disruptions, inflation, and rising taxes. Sectors and regions dependent on cross-border visitation are still struggling and according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, only 16% of businesses are confident in the outlook of Ontario’s economy in 2023.  

    As provincial and federal policymakers are looking to define their economic priorities for the coming fiscal year, it is critical that we keep the pressure on both levels of government to bring the focus back on tourism. That’s why I presented this week at the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queen’s Park: to advocate for the inclusion of tourism investments in the Province’s 2023 budget. This was an important opportunity to remind the provincial government of the slow pace of tourism recovery, the challenges tourism operators are still facing—and, importantly, the opportunities that lie ahead for Ontario’s economy if we get our recovery right.  

    In my presentation (which you can view here) and Q&A, I emphasized the regional disparities in recovery; the labour gaps hindering recovery and growth; the need for destination marketing investments to attract business, cultural, and sporting events back to Ontario; the need for transportation infrastructure that increases regional connectivity; and promising areas for future tourism growth and investment, including agri-tourism, sustainable tourism, and Indigenous tourism.

    We need a tourism growth strategy that enables our industry to fully recover, grow, remain domestically and globally competitive, and become resilient. To that end, I called on the provincial government to consult on and release a comprehensive tourism growth strategy for Ontario by the third quarter of 2023, highlighting our State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report as a foundation for such a strategy.

    Last week, we made a similar appeal to the federal government in our letter to Prime Minister Trudeau. As part of a wider campaign led by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, we called on the Prime Minister, the Minister of Tourism, and the Minister of Finance to ensure that the incoming federal tourism growth strategy is actionable and best positions our industry to rebuild, prosper, and unleash its full potential. We asked TIAO members to join us in our advocacy by sending a pre-written letter to their local MP. If you haven’t already, there’s still time to send your own letter—click here to see how.  

    As always, thank you for your continued support. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me an email at



    Jessica Ng
    Director, Policy & Government Affairs




  • 09 Feb 2023 by Jessica Ng

    While economic recovery is underway, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a severe and enduring impact on Ontario’s tourism industry. Border closures, capacity restrictions, and lockdowns exacerbated structural issues that have left the industry far from recovery. Tourism businesses are still recovering from the lasting impact of revenue losses, mounting debt, an acute labour crisis, and new challenges including supply chain disruptions, inflation, and reduced commercial insurance coverage. Moreover, not all visitor markets and regions are rebuilding at the same pace, and business confidence has dropped to a new low: according to the Ontario Economic Report, only 16% of organizations expressed confidence in the outlook of Ontario’s economy in 2023.

    Meanwhile, our global competitors are already moving forward, along with the rest of Ontario and Canada. At this precarious moment in our recovery, we need a national tourism growth strategy that best positions our industry to rebuild, prosper, and unleash its full potential. We can’t be left behind.  That’s why, in collaboration with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, we're sending a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau—to bring federal focus back onto the Tourism Growth Strategy and how it should support tourism recovery. 

    To amplify our efforts, we need your help. We’re asking members to send a letter to their local MP in support of our joint campaign, calling on the federal government to ensure that our tourism industry remains one of the most competitive and successful in the world.


    Jessica Ng
    Director, Policy & Government Affairs

    We need your support! Join us in advocating for the future success of the tourism industry by sending a letter to your MP. TIAO has made it easy to send your pre-written letter to your Member of Parliament. Read below to see how!

    How do I send a letter to my MP? 3 Easy Steps

    Step One: Find out the contact information of your MP – go to the Current Members of the Parliament List. To find your MP, enter your postal code. You can also call 1-800-677-8683, TTY: 1-888-292-2312. You can also see the list of Ontario MPs' contact information on TIAO's website.

    Step Two:

    1. Click here to download TIAO's pre-written member letter to your MP. Read through, and make sure to fill out the highlighted sections;
      • Name of your MP
      • Date of the letter
      • Your name
      • Your company logo (if applicable)
    2. You're ready to email your letter to your MP! Click here to use our pre-written email to make it easier to send your letter. Make sure to double check your MP's email address before emailing!

    Step Three: You did it! Pat yourself on the back because you just helped support the future of the tourism industry in Ontario.







  • 02 Feb 2023 by Jessica Ng

    This week, the TIAO team was at the Ontario Tourism Town Hall, an industry-wide event delivered by our colleagues at TIAC. This was a great opportunity to share ideas on innovation and sustainability, hear about TIAC’s latest advocacy initiatives, discuss national and regional tourism issues, and reconnect with tourism colleagues.  

    We heard from Indigenous Tourism Ontario and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada about best practices, recent developments in, and the recovery of Indigenous tourism. We got an inside look at Ottawa Tourism’s destination stewardship and marketing strategies; a sneak peak at emerging digital tools for SME business and product development; Tourism HR Canada’s pan-Canadian programs to address recruitment, retention, and skills gap challenges; recovery projections and strategic planning shifts at Destination Canada; and a snapshot of TIAC’s federal tourism growth strategy targets, including in tourism spending, workforce, visitation, and building a regenerative and inclusive tourism industry.

    And in the Q&A portion, TIAC, ITAC, and Destination Canada engaged in a lively exchange of ideas with Ontario tourism leaders and stakeholders. Guided by live questions, the panel discussed tourism’s resilience projections for 2023, the appeal of tourism and hospitality careers for young jobseekers, government funding models for workforce training programs, and commercial insurance.

    Presentations from the Ontario Tourism Town Hall will be available to view on TIAC’s website, so stay tuned.  

    As always, thank you for your continued support. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me an email at


    Jessica Ng
    Director, Policy & Government Affairs


  • This week, TIAO attended the 2023 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference. We were joined by our tourism delegation, consisting of Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC), the Ontario Snow Resorts Association (OSRA), Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO), Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario (NOTO), Camping in Ontario, Kingston Accommodation Partners (KAP), and Destination Northern Ontario (DNO) – together, we met with a total of 11 provincial ministries.  

    Our main focus was economic recovery and how government and industry can work together to enable tourism businesses to overcome longstanding barriers and fully leverage the opportunities to rebuild and prosper, both now and in the future.

    In our meeting with Minister Lumsden and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, we discussed a Tourism Workforce Strategy to address the ongoing labour concerns that are widespread thro0ughout our industry and province, as well as recommending destination marketing campaigns that showcase Ontario’s tourism offer to domestic and international markets. TIAO will continue to work with the MTCS and Minister Lumsden to rebuild and grow our industry.  

    In our meeting with the Hon. Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, we focused on immigration reform to ensure immigration pathways meet recruitment and retention demands of the tourism and hospitality industry. TIAO also made recommendations to ensure the range of tourism and hospitality careers is represented in career awareness resources to provide jobseekers with a breadth of career options. 

    In our meeting with the Hon. Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, we advocated for resource-based tourism operators, exploring longer-term land tenure options for outpost camps and how we can support the recovery of outfitters.  

    TIAO also met with the Hon. Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. We discussed developing a Northern Tourism Opportunity Fund to amplify tourism promotion and product development in remote and Northern regions and expanding heated rest area infrastructure along Northern highways. In our meeting with IAO, we recommended strategies to facilitate the growth and long-term sustainability of Indigenous tourism businesses, support for Indigenous business development, and encouraging the involvement of Indigenous peoples in Ontario's tourism industry.  

    In TIAO’s meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), we discussed strategies to support tourism businesses, organizations, and workers in Ontario. These include investments in the delivery of rural and Northern broadband, support for Indigenous food tourism in rural and Northern regions, and intergovernmental support for an LMIA exemption for tourism and hospitality operators accessing labour through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. 

    Lastly, in our meeting with the Treasury Board Secretariat, we discussed the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit, strategies to support struggling Northern tourism sectors, and long-term planning and investment that supports the resilience of Ontario’s rural tourism economies.

    Image Furthermore, at the TIAO booth, we met with over 50 rural and Northern municipal councillors, civil servants, and mayors. During these municipal meetings, TIAO gained in-depth perspective on the challenges that are impacting the local growth and sustainability of tourism businesses. Labour, infrastructure, affordable housing, and transportation were main themes that were raised from multiple municipalities.  

    We thank the provincial Ministries, Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, Municipal councillors, and Mayors for taking the time meet with us and discuss how to strengthen and grow Ontario’s tourism industry. We look forward to continuing the conversation in the coming weeks and months. TIAO continues to work with all levels of government to ensure a whole government approach to promote the recovery, growth, and competitiveness of Ontario tourism.

    To review each Ministry briefs, please see here.

  • 19 Jan 2023 by Chris Bloore

    Hot on the heels of the release of the ‘State of the Ontario Tourism Industry’ report last year, the TIAO team, with the support of our partners, is now fully focused on engaging government, elected officials, and senior bureaucrats on the key recommendations found in the report

    Next week, three years since the last in-person Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference in Toronto, TIAO is excited to swap Teams and Zoom meetings for face-to-face conversations with government ministers and municipal politicians and bureaucrats. TIAO will lead a delegation of tourism leaders representing our diverse industry. I'm pleased to report that we have twelve confirmed meetings with cabinet ministers, including key meetings with Ministers of Tourism, Labour and the Treasury Board. The TIAO team will also be engaging locally elected representatives and key local bureaucrats as we seek to expand our network of partnerships and progress key files on infrastructure, transportation, and economic support for our rural tourism partners. In next week’s newsletter we will provide feedback on the conference and key learnings.  

    We’ve had several enquiries from members waiting for updates on the most recent tranche of TRF funding that was administered by FedDev Ontario. It has been confirmed to us by government that notifications on the status of applications have now started to go out to applicants. If you haven’t received notification on the status of your application by the middle of next week, then please do contact the TIAO team and we will be happy to follow up on your behalf.

    Last week, the Ontario Government opened its pre-budget consultation process. This is your opportunity to feedback directly into setting the priorities of the provincial government. Open till February 10, you have the opportunity to submit your own written submission to government here. There will also be the opportunity to attend in-person and virtual consultation events across Ontario, that we will advertise via the newsletter, that you might want to attend. If you would like to include recommendations from the ‘State of the Ontario Tourism Industry’ and would like extra information for your supportive comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of the team and we would be happy to assist you.

    Picture: Ontario Chamber of Commerce 2023 PAC Meeting

    Finally, TIAO is pleased to continue to play a proactive role as a member of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) Policy and Advocacy Committee (PAC) championing key files for the tourism industry within the chamber network (pictured). This week, I attended the PAC to talk about the challenges still facing the tourism industry including inflation, cost of living, debt, and labour. These key topics have also formed the basis for a partnership with Twenty31, for a poll we put in the field together recently, as we seek to dig deep into customers perceptions about the tourism industry in Ontario.

    Of course, this report and newsletter are only a snapshot of the work that the TIAO team is currently undertaking. If you would like to contact us on a specific issue then please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of the team.

    Chris Bloore

    President & CEO, TIAO

  • 12 Jan 2023 by Simone Gonsalves

    These past few months, TIAO has been working behind the scenes to execute a series of workshops titled Elevating Ontario Experiences!  

    The Elevating Ontario Experiences project is building upon a previous successful project led by Destination Canada in 2019. We helped with the outreach as only 3 regions were available with that program. This year, we have the opportunity to engage new operators and communities - ensuring all regions in Ontario have the chance to participate in this project and work with industry experts such as the Culinary Tourism Alliance and BC Hughes to bring their tourism ideas to life and in drive economic growth for the province.

    This project focuses on providing operators with knowledge of strategy development and tools to create or elevate an experience within winter/shoulder season or culinary activities, both in their business and region. Each participant receives 1:1 coaching to present their unique idea and apply the strategies learned, with the guidance and constructive feedback from the industry experts. 

    As one of TIAO’s Special Projects Coordinators, I was excited to take the lead for this project. Since the sessions are tailored to each tourism region in Ontario, my role is to connect the Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) and tourism operators to the consultants. It's exciting getting to work alongside the RTOs to identify tourism businesses that show potential to grow their revenue and conduct outreach, inviting them to participate in these workshops. 

    While in college, I learned a lot about economic development, the life cycle of a destination, and how to expand winter/shoulder season experiences – using case studies such as the Toronto Zoo to make data-based recommendations. These learnings helped to spark my interest in experience development. It's really interesting to watch the process from start to finish. A simple idea from a business becoming a revenue-generating experience. A group of 12 operators and these industry experts coming together to discuss and share unique ideas – you get to watch these operators have their “ah-ha!” moment and get inspired by simple idea sharing and having conversations with other businesses in their region.

    These projects are necessary to the industry as it helps to identify areas of growth and development to expand Ontario’s tourism potential, while connecting local businesses together, engaging them in meaningful peer-to-peer discussions, collaborations, and capacity building. Without these projects, operators may not recognize industry trends, potential partnerships, and how to utilize their regions assets and unique selling points year-round. 

  • From all of us at TIAO, we wish you a happy holiday season! This was yet another busy year for our team. Before we close our offices for the holidays, we asked some end-of-year questions to some of the TIAO team members to reflect on our accomplishments and highlights of 2022! Read through to get to know our team more.


    Mark Capistrano
    Special Projects Coordinator


    Q: What have been some of the highlights of your year?

    Simply put, every single in-person event I attended, from Rendes-vous Canada to OTS22, to job fairs and other conferences have been some of the best parts of my year; because the best part of our industry is the connections you make with people.


    Simone Gonsalves
    Special Projects Coordinator


    Q: What have been some of the highlights of your year?

    Presenting at the Ontario Tourism Summit 2022 on The Labour Crisis: A Youth Perspective!


    Q: What do you want to see more of in the tourism industry?

    Inclusion of young people's voices. In order to solve persistent issues such as the labour crisis, we need to listen to and highlight the recommendations presented by the younger generation. This will be most helpful to the industry - teaching us how to reshape work environments to meet their needs.

    Q: What are you looking forward to in the new year?

    Continuing to execute the Elevating Ontario Experiences culinary and winter/shoulder season workshops!

    Landon Logie
    Event Manager


    Q: What have been some of the highlights of your year?

    The biggest highlight of my year with TIAO is of course the Ontario Tourism Summit. OTS is one of my favourite events that I get to work on, and it will never cease to amaze me how we continue to raise the bar for this event, year after year.


    Leni Brem
    Staekholder Relations Manager


    Q: What have been some of the highlights of your year?

    Starting work with TIAO, being part of OTS, getting to know more stakeholders.


    Q: What do you want to see more of in the tourism industry?

    More collaboration, diversity, inclusivity and innovation!

    Q: What are you looking forward to in the new year?

    Meeting more stakeholders and getting out to visit more operators in Ontario.

    Q: How has tourism experiences in Ontario been beneficial for you and your community this year?

    I think that the way the tourism industry rallied together in the last couple of years has had far-reaching impacts for so many communities, beyond what we might think of as "tourism". Thinking of my own corner of the city, the Gerrard India Bazaar, we have so many small businesses owned by locals who were in a really bad spot, but who benefited and survived because of the way people came together to support local; businesses shared innovative ideas and "pivots" that others could adopt or complement; and collaborations took place that had businesses supporting each other and sharing both the costs and benefits of projects and marketing, etc.

    Caitlyn Drexler
    Policy & Research Officer


    Q: What have been some of the highlights of your year?

    A few of the highlights of 2022 at TIAO for me include the Ontario Tourism Summit held in Muskoka, speaking at the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit in Thunder Bay, and the release of the Ontario State of the Tourism Industry Report - which I worked on with my colleague, Dr. Jessica Ng. The report was the culmination of several projects and research initiatives TIAO has worked on throughout the last year and every member of the TIAO team had a hand in creating this report! I am proud of the work our team has done!

    Sapphire Supersad
    Special Projects Coordinator


    Q: What have been some of the highlights of your year?

    The Rendez-vous Canada Reception at the Steam Whistle Brewery was definitely a highlight for me. There was so much delicious food, great energy and wonderful little gifts to remember the experience.


    Q: What do you want to see more of in the tourism industry?

    Sharing experiences and storytelling. One of the Building Inclusive Tourism webinars that stayed with me the most was "Advancing Our Knowledge - Always Learning" - if more sessions, webinars and opportunities could continue to occur throughout the industry of storytelling and experience sharing like that one, I would love it.

    Q: What are you looking forward to in the new year?

    I'm looking forward to more opportunities for in-person events to engage and meet new people within the industry, which is something I've grown to appreciate the more I get to do it.

    Q: How has tourism experiences in Ontario been beneficial for you and your community this year?

    One tourism experience that was beneficial for me was speaking at OTS2022. It was an opportunity that let me voice my honest opinions of the tourism industry as a member of the younger generation and post-secondary students. Not only was it a major confidence boost, but it made me feel like my opinions and observations of the tourism industry were valid and should be heard as the younger generation continues to enter the industry. I like to think it benefitted my community of post-grads and youth who hope for change in the industry.

    Thank you for reading and getting to know the TIAO Team better! As we look back upon the past year, we would like to acknowledge the impact of the tourism industry stakeholders, partners and members who have helped us shape the future of tourism in Ontario. Thanks for a great year!

  • 24 Nov 2022 by Chris Bloore

    This week’s advocacy report reads more like travel diary as the TIAO team has been on the road across the province to attend three key industry and economic events.  These events are a critical part of how we report back to members on our latest activities, but also how we build new relationships to strengthen our advocacy work. Whist it’s been a logistical challenge to ensure TIAO representation at all events - and we’ve not been able to have the full representation we would usually like - it has been a truly wonderful problem to have after the past 30 months and I would like to congratulate the organizers for putting on such informative and energizing events.

    At the start of the week, Jessica and myself attended the TIAC Tourism Congress in Ottawa.  I arrived early to attend a meeting of the Provincial Territorial Tourism Industry Association of Canada (PTTIA). This is a group of tourism association organizations from across Canada and is a critical way for us to align our messaging to government and share updates and best practices happening in our own jurisdictions. It was encouraging to hear conformity around the table about some of the shared positive stories regarding the summer season, however, there was collective agreement around the table that the challenges of labour, the slow return of business event and travel as well as the economic and social legacies of the pandemic such as debt and concerns about the ease of travel to Canada, still pose a severe challenge to the pace and extent of our recovery. 

    Congress itself kicked off with a review of the past twelve months and some of the key advocacy achievements of TIAC, the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses of which TIAC co-chaired and the    Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable.  It can be easy to forget sometimes just how much work has been accomplished when so much can change on a weekly basis, something that happened regularly during the height of the pandemic. Specifically, the work done to deliver the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, when other programs ended, is a testament to the powerful message that the tourism industry was able to deliver. I know my PTTIA counterparts and TIAO’s operators and stakeholders are extremely grateful for the work of Beth and the TIAC teams during the pandemic period.

    There were many excellent panels and keynote speakers on the future of our borders, transportation, labour, business travel and events and sustainable tourism and climate change. It’s clear that the tourism industry could be one of the few parts of our economy that could grow rapidly with the right levels of regulatory and policy support. Federal Tourism Minister, Randy Boissonnault, was in attendance at the summit and gave an overview of the state of the tourism industry as well as his vision for the industry.  TIAO looks forward to the contents of the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, which is expected to be released in Q1 of 2023 by Minister Boissonnault which we hope will meet many of the challenges detailed by TIAC’s and TIAO’s tourism growth strategy submissions.

    Finally, I would like to congratulate Ontario based Canadian Tourism Award winners recognized at the Gala Awards:

    • Floor13 Business Event Award: Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (2022 Conference)
    • Air Canada Business of the Year Award: Great Wolf Lodge
    • Tourism HR Canada Employer of the Year Award: Tourism Kingston
    • Tourism HR Canada Employee of the Year Award: Kaleigh Potts, Client Services Lead, Expedition Support, Assistant Program Director of Adventure Canada

    Congratulations to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, Kaleigh Potts, Great Wolf Lodge and Tourism Kingston and to all those nominated! 

    Our Policy and Research Officer, Caitlyn Drexler, attended and presented at the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit in Thunder Bay and further down in this newsletter you can read a report back from Caitlyn. On my return from Ottawa, I attended the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit in Toronto. TIAO is currently in the final stages of completing our inaugural ‘State of the Ontario Tourism Industry’ report in partnership with the OCC after a series of roundtables with Ministers Neil Lumsden and Monte McNaughton. The pandemic has demonstrated how integral the visitor economy is to the general health of Ontario’s economy and that was the message I shared with fellow delegates and cabinet ministers. 

    There were some excellent panels including a review of Ontario’s health sector and how it can be strengthened and how Ontario's business sector can lead the way on net-zero. Both extremely relevant to the future of the tourism industry.  One of TIAO’s members Nieuport Aviation was deservedly recognized for the ‘most outstanding business recovery award’ and the summit was a great opportunity to meet chambers of commerce and businesses from across the province that have expressed an interest in building stronger links and partnerships with their tourism counterparts. Building these links and greater lines of communication and partnerships with the business community is essential to our future and is something TIAO is committed to lead.

    Outside of events, this week, Minister Parm Gill formally moved a series of regulatory changes via the 'Less Red Tape, Stronger Ontario Act'. The new red tape reduction package includes 28 new measures, including commonsense changes to spa and hot tub regulations. This was a key request from TIAO and our stakeholders and we thank Minister Gill and Minister Lumsden for their action to support our members in Ontario. In addition, as referenced in last week's newsletter, the portable benefits consultation opened by the government of Ontario remains open and I would encourage all members to take part in the survey by clicking here.

    Finally, thank you to those of you that have signed our letter to Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy  regarding our proposed extension of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit. If you’ve not signed the letter already, there is still time to do so by clicking here. At a time when we know that international travel will not return to pre-pandemic levels for some time, it’s so important for us to continue to grow and instill a sense of ‘support local’ amongst Ontarians. Like financial incentives given to other industries, an extended financial incentive to Ontarians to explore local should be an integral part of our recovery. So please don’t delay and sign our letter by 5PM on Monday. 

    A slightly different advocacy report than usual this week, normal service will resume next week. But as ever, please do reach out to us if there are any issues you would like to raise with us or if you require any help or assistance.

    Yours sincerely,





    Christopher Bloore, President and CEO


    This week, TIAO Research & Policy Officer, Caitlyn Drexler, attended the 2022 Northern Ontario Tourism Summit in Thunder Bay, ON. The event was hosted by Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario (NOTO) and Destination Northern Ontario (DNO) to bring together tourism businesses, organizations, and all levels of government to find solutions to challenges facing our industry.

    The summit hosted interactive workshops and seminars to learn about the latest trends in tourism in Northern Ontario, and Caitlyn presented on TIAO's advocacy and policy update. The presentation reviewed the challenges Northern Ontario tourism businesses are facing, what TIAO is working on for 2023, and notably, key highlights from the State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report which is set to be released imminently.

    We appreciate the opportunity to speak to tourism stakeholders from across Northern Ontario and look forward to attending next year's summit!


  • 10 Nov 2022 by Chris Bloore

    Tomorrow, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we will fall silent in a moment of reflection to remember the ultimate sacrifice paid by our armed services in conflict and to maintain peace in defense of the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy in Canada. We honour their memories and give thanks to those that serve in our armed forces during times of war and peace to keep us safe. As well as marking Remembrance Day, November 8th marked Indigenous Veterans Day when we honour First Nation, Metis and Inuit soldiers and veterans and their long, distinguished legacy of serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. TIAO gives thanks to all our veterans for their service.  We will remember them.

    On Wednesday I was invited to address Destination Toronto’s Business Outlook Forum at the Omni King Edward Hotel. It was an excellent event full of critical information and analysis on Toronto’s performance during and as we inch out of the shadow of the pandemic. I was asked to talk about some of the key policy and political events that the TIAO team would be keeping a close eye on at the provincial and federal level. I spoke about the upcoming Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, changes to immigration rules and regulations, the introduction of portable benefits and how there is still space to further cut red tape and taxes to allow investment, expansion and growth within Ontario.  You can watch a recording of the entire forum here.

    On Monday November 14, the Ontario provincial government is set to release its fall economic statement. In this statement Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy  will give further details on the government's plan to execute its legislative priorities and give an update on the state of Ontario's economy. It is an important precursor to the next budget and TIAO will be providing a briefing delivered straight to your inbox on all the key points soon after its release.  

    Finally, next week TIAO will be launching a new campaign to extend the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit to 2023 and will be asking for your support by adding your name to our letter to the Ministry of Finance. The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit was an important tool to rebuilding confidence with customers that it was not only safe to travel again, but that the government wanted to actively incentivize Ontarians to support local operators. Across the province we saw how our industry innovatively used different marketing and communication strategies to encourage Ontarians to utilize the tax credit. But of course, the stop-start nature of 2022 and Omicron meant we didn’t get to fully utilize the credit in the way that we had hoped and with our recovery far from assured, we think its right to continue to incentive domestic travel. So please keep an eye out for our campaign launch next week in your inbox.

    Of course, if you have an issue, suggestion or policy you’d like to talk to the TIAO team about, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

    Best wishes,





    Christopher Bloore, President and CEO


  • 27 Oct 2022 by Jessica Ng

    It’s been a busy week here at TIAO. We just returned from Deerhurst where we held our annual Ontario Tourism Summit. While at Summit, we managed to make great progress on some of our key files.  

    On the eve of Summit, the provincial government announced a crucial regulatory change pertaining to hot tubs at visitor accommodations. Effective October 28, 2022, R. R. O. 1990, Reg. 565: Public Pools will be amended to provide an exemption for public spas that are operated in conjunction with an individual dwelling unit or suite of a visitor accommodation for the exclusive use of its occupants. Provided that the required caution signage is posted, owners/operators of these pubic spas will no longer be required to meet the structural and equipment regulations outlined in the Regulation.  

    TIAO has worked closely with affected operators, stakeholders, and government partners to resolve this issue and is pleased that a regulatory solution has been reached.  

    For more information about this change, see here for the official summary of the amendment and see here for the Q&A document.  

    And while our industry continues to move forward and make economic progress, we are still a long way from full recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a severe and enduring impact on Ontario’s tourism sectors. Border closures, capacity restrictions, and lockdowns exacerbated structural issues, which impact the capacity for our industry to take advantage of opportunities for economic growth. In need of a path forward, TIAO and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) worked closely with the sector over the last year to inform and develop: The State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report.  

    The report examines challenges and opportunities facing Ontario’s tourism industry, focusing on themes of economy, labour, infrastructure, and the future of tourism in the province. It offers a blueprint for recovery, growth, and sustainability through practical recommendations to confront immediate and long-term challenges and to fully leverage the opportunities for economic prosperity.  

    While at Summit, we offered a sneak peek at the report. Key highlights and recommendations from the report are now available to read here. The full report will be released in late 2022 – stay tuned.  

    As always, thank you for your continued support. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me an email at



    Jessica Ng
    Director, Policy & Government Affairs

  • 13 Oct 2022 by Chris Bloore

    On the Friday before thanksgiving, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, made a key and welcome announcement on the government's intention to relax rules on the number of hours international students would be permitted to work off-campus. As many of you are aware, the previous maximum of twenty hours off-campus was preventing many students from being able to take up opportunities to work further hours and continued to hamper business' ability to fill labour gaps.

    TIAO was delighted to see this commonsense change being announced and thank our partners - especially TIAC - for their hard work in ensuring this key recommendation was delivered. This recommendation has been a key ask for the tourism industry. Moreover, Ontario and Canada as a whole are fortunate to have a significant number of students wanting to study and then work within our industry. They’re not just prospective employees, but people who will add to the fabric of our industry, communities and our province. I hope this is the start of further commonsense changes to immigration policies that level the playing field in helping those who want to work within our industry to be able to do so. Encouragingly, we know that Minister Monte McNaughton is keen to revisit the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program with the Federal government, that could further help our ability to attract international workers.

    Last week, TIAO hosted a hybrid Tourism roundtable with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) with Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Neil Lumsden. With over 60 tourism leaders in attendance, we had a productive discussion regarding the state of the tourism industry in Ontario. The discussion included exchanges on labour challenges, the housing crisis, debt, immigration and regulatory barriers to growth, opportunities for investment, concern over the return of business events and travel and the importance of our gateway cities. Participants shared the latest information from their own sectors and regions but also industry led solutions that if recreated on a larger scale could help answer some of these key challenges identified. 

    The contents of the discussion and the ideas shared will become a central part of TIAO’s and the OCC’s State of the Tourism Industry Report, a blueprint of ideas that we believe are key to the tourism industry in Ontario, realizing its true potential as a key economic driver. Key recommendations of the report will be presented at the Ontario Tourism Summit in Muskoka and the full report released soon after. I would like to thank all participants for their time and articulate contributions to the discussion. We could have filled the room ten times over, but the discussion was optimistic and collaborative and Minister Lumsden made it clear in his remarks that the government is keen to hear solutions to the challenges that we face and work with us to deliver them.  

    Next week I will be joining colleagues in meeting Federal Members of Parliament, Senators and key bureaucrats as part of the TIAC Hill Days. This is an important set of lobby days organized by TIAC to ensure that all federal political representatives and civil servants are fully aware of the challenges facing the tourism industry and the opportunities that are there for the taking with the right investment and strategies. As we start to exit the pandemic there has never been a more important time for us to be speaking with federal representatives to ensure that they’re fully aware of the challenges of debt, the labour crisis and other obstacles to travel that will continue to hamper our recovery if not rectified. Whist I will be part of a broader team representing the entire tourism industry, I will of course ensure that Ontario, and the challenges particular to our province, are well represented. 

    Many of you have been in contact with me regarding progress on the consultation that featured on the Ontario Regulatory Registry on the proposed amendment to O. Reg 565: Public Pools. As you know, TIAO put forward our own set of commonsense changes to rectify the situation that has arisen regarding hot tubs and thank those TIAO members that took up our call for action to get your consultation responses in. TIAO has been informed that consultation responses have been collated and reviewed and we expect an update from government on proposed changes in the near future. TIAO continues to press for a speedy resolution to this issue so that businesses can take bookings with confidence. We will of course update members as soon as we hear anything. 

    Finally, we’re now hurtling towards the Ontario Tourism Summit in Muskoka on October 25-26. There are very limited tickets available for you to join us in what promises to be a compelling summit, so if you haven’t got your ticket yet, please don’t delay! 

    As ever, this is just a snapshot of the work that the TIAO team are currently undertaking. If there is an issue that you would like to raise with the team, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

    Best Wishes,

    Chris Bloore
    President & CEO

  • See more blogs...