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Empowering Tourism: TIAO’s Productive Engagement with Government at AMO 2023

Empowering Tourism: TIAO’s Productive Engagement with Government at AMO 2023
24 Aug 2023 by Chris Bloore

We’re pleased to share our recent strides in advocating for Ontario’s vibrant tourism industry at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conference this year. AMO is the premier representative group for Ontario’s 444 municipalities that advocates for beneficial policy and legislation to all levels of government. TIAO, alongside our dedicated delegation, recently engaged with key members of the Ontario government to address the vital concerns within our sector. Our delegation consisted of: 

  1. David MacLachlan, Executive Director, Destination Northern Ontario 
  2. Andrew Siegwart, President, Blue Mountain Village Association 
  3. Richard Anderson, Executive Director, Smart Serve Ontario 
  4. Kerri King, Executive Director, Resorts of Ontario 
  5. Krista LeClair, Executive Director, Kingson Accommodation Partners 
  6. Rick Layzell, CEO, Boating Ontario 
  7. Adam Morrison, President and CEO, Ontario Tourism Education Corporation 
  8. Sherry Mayer, VP of Operations, Indigenous Tourism Ontario 
  9. Rebecca Cabral, Public Affairs Manager, Camping in Ontario 

Our appreciation goes out to Ministers Neil Lumsden, Graydon Smith, David Piccini, Caroline Mulroney, Greg Rickford, Attorney General Doug Downey and Parliamentary Assistants Trevor Jones, Rob Flack, and Todd McCarthy. These discussions allowed us to openly tackle the urgent needs and challenges with which the tourism industry is currently grappling.

We extended our conversations to include members from the Ontario Liberal and NDP caucuses, along with MPP Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario. We’d also like to express our gratitude to the mayors and councillors who took the time to visit our booth and discuss the outlined issues below. This collaborative support ensures that the concerns of the tourism industry remain in the spotlight during policy deliberations. 

Key Takeaways from the Conversations: 

  • Nature Tourism: Increasing the appeal of Ontario’s natural tourism was a core focus in our discussions. The value of afforestation and expanding greenspaces took prominence, alongside the need to build climate resilience and nurture partnerships between tourism operators and Ontario Parks. 
  • Housing: We delved into the critical issue of housing, a crucial factor exacerbating the labour shortages within our industry. The focus was on attainable housing solutions, urging government investment in affordable options to create a balanced living-work environment. 
  • Addressing the Labour Crisis: The pressing issue of labour shortages within the industry got significant attention, compelling us to explore practical solutions to attract and retain a skilled workforce. 
  • Indigenous Tourism: These discussions focussed on the great contribution of Indigenous tourism to Ontario’s economy. We discussed promoting and investing in this vital sector, enhancing its role within the broader tourism landscape. 
  • Unlocking Rural Potential: Acknowledging the unique challenges faced by rural and remote tourism operators, we championed the need for robust transportation infrastructure. This includes expanding local air connections and establishing enhanced rural bus routes to foster seamless community access. 
  • EV File: Addressing the coming 2035 gas-powered vehicle ban, TIAO emphasized the impacts on tourism operators. While supporting eco-friendly initiatives, we stressed the need for a comprehensive grid expansion covering rural areas combined with an efficient EV charging network.  

These dialogues demonstrate TIAO’s dedication to real, practical solutions that help the tourism industry in Ontario grow steadily. We’re dedicated to supporting your needs and guiding the industry towards a successful future. 

Chris Bloore
President & CEO, TIAO