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  • 30 Nov 2023 by Chris Bloore

    I’m not great at goodbyes, but today is my last working day at TIAO, and my final day has fallen on a Thursday to give me one more chance to write to you all and share my thoughts. I want to start with a simple thank you – thank you to those that would often write back to these remarks with your feedback, questions, concerns, or simply with a ‘keep going!’. Whether it’s been via email, our virtual town halls, or meeting in person at one of our events it’s been a pleasure to interact and learn from you all.  

    Last month in Mississauga, at the Ontario Tourism Summit, I hinted at my deep frustration at the standstill we’ve reached. We have all worked so hard to get through the pandemic – not only to survive it – but to lay the foundations of a recovery amidst the perfect storm of rising interest rates, spiraling inflation, a broken supply chain, and geopolitical uncertainty. We came together to build a roadmap to recovery and to finally realise our potential and the growth we all know could lead to new jobs and greater economic prosperity. Yet many of these ideas and practical solutions are still only ink on paper and have not been put into practice. 

    We need governments at all levels to collaborate with us as we come to a critical point in our future. As we tackle some of the most pressing challenges, we’ve faced we can redefine what the future of tourism in Ontario will look like.  Across the world ambitious governments are investing in their tourism sectors and seizing the opportunity to reap the economic, health, social, and cultural benefits that it brings. In destinations across the world there is a shared understanding that tourism is the driver of culture for visitors and locals alike – it brings people together in unforgettable experiences that engage body, mind, and soul. As we face ever more complex challenges tourism continues to be the forum where we remind ourselves and others who we are – as individuals, peoples, and nations.   

    I know that the next President and CEO of TIAO, with your support and a talented and dedicated TIAO team, will break the logjam and grasp the opportunities that are there for the taking.  I now return to the UK both with an enlarged personal family and as a permanent member of the Ontario tourism family. I will be rooting for you all from across the pond and I know that if the past four years are any indication, you will yet again blaze a trail for others to follow. 

    It’s been an honour.  

  • 28 Nov 2023 by Chris Bloore

    Despite the ongoing pressures on small businesses in the tourism sector I was disappointed – if not surprised – that the Fall Economic Statement contained no new measures to support small businesses. This is despite consensus among business and association leaders on the need for changes to the CEBA loan repayment schedules for which they have been long advocating. The government didn’t deliver on any meaningful time extensions to ensure businesses can take advantage of the forgivable portions of the loans especially when we’re living through these volatile economic times. With high interest rates and inflation combining with ever increasing costs, a labour crisis, and a disrupted supply chain this would have been the perfect time to give small businesses some more breathing room in repayments without penalties.  

    In better news the Federal Tourism Minister, the Hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada, announced the launch of the Tourism Growth Program (TGP). With $108 million in federal funding the TGP will be delivered by Canada’s seven regional development agencies over three years, starting in 2023-24. We’ve already received several inquiries from members about the criteria of the program and we’re pleased that FedDev and FedNor will be hosting webinars shortly to answer all questions TIAO members may have.  

    Finally, as a reminder if you have not already put forward your ideas on what TIAO should include in our provincial budget consultation then please don’t hesitate to do so. Over the past three years we’ve been successful in winning economic packages and regulatory changes that helped mitigate some of the worst impacts of the pandemic. However, as we edge closer to a recovery these gains have not been secured. We need to ensure that we’re pressing governments at all levels to take the next steps to empower the tourism industry to be competitive and to reach growth targets. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please reach out to Dr. Jessica Ng at or Alexander Miceli at 

    Chris Bloore
    President & CEO
    Tourism Industry Association of Ontario

  • 16 Nov 2023 by Alexander Micelli

    From Tuesday, November 14th to 16th, TIAO had the privilege of participating in the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit in Sault Ste Marie. Dr. Jessica Ng and Carol Greenwood delivered a presentation updating attendees on our advocacy efforts for tourism in Northern Ontario, emphasizing our key focus areas: economic recovery, labour, economic development and regulatory reform, and infrastructure. 

    During our presentation, we highlighted our objectives to extend the CEBA and RRRF repayment period, allowing for partial loan forgiveness until December 31st, 2025; the labour crisis in Northern Ontario, including the impact of Transport Canada anti-fatigue regulations on exacerbating the pilot shortage; and the need to expand provincial EV charging infrastructure in rural and remote areas. Additionally, we discussed our continued advocacy alongside our Northern partners for tourism revenue tools tailored for Northern and remote regions to amplify tourism marketing and product development in destinations located on crown land, in unorganized townships, or beyond municipal boundaries. 

    Concluding our session, we delved into upcoming trends and opportunities in the tourism sector – including opportunities to expand outdoor and nature-based tourism and agritourism – and current and upcoming programs and events at TIAO.  

    In addition, Destination Northern Ontario passed a resolution to provide their utmost support to help alleviate homelessness as well as addiction and mental health challenges across Northern Ontario. The resolution was accompanied with an acknowledgment of the economic impact of homelessness and the need to directly address it for the full recovery and future growth of the tourism sector.  

    The Northern Ontario Tourism Summit (NOTS) was a great opportunity to reconnect with our partners at NOTO and Destination Northern Ontario, meet many of our Northern tourism stakeholders, and hear the latest issues and updates in Northern Ontario tourism. We look forward to NOTS 2024!  



    Alexander Miceli 
    Manager of Policy and Government Affairs
    Tourism Industry Association of Ontario

  • 02 Nov 2023 by Jessica Ng

    Today, the Government of Ontario released its Fall Economic Statement. Some key highlights include:  

    • Proposing to extend the current gas tax and fuel tax rate cuts, keeping the rates at 9 cents per litre until June 20, 2024.  

    • Proposing to remove the provincial portion of the HST on new purpose-built rental housing through the Ontario Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) New Residential Rental Property Rebate.    

    • Providing an additional $100M to the Invest Ontario Fund to help attract more leading companies to Ontario.  

    • Creating a new arms-length agency called the Ontario Infrastructure Bank to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects across the province and to attract institutional investors to help build critical infrastructure.  

    • Investing $200M over three years in a new Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund that will protect communities and help unlock new housing opportunities. This complements the recently-announced $1.2B Building Faster Fund to support municipalities achieve their housing targets. 

    The Ministry of Finance reiterated its intent to undertake a review of the Province’s tax system to support the competitiveness and long-term growth of Ontario businesses.  

    The Fall Economic Statement also outlined a gradual growth in government program expenses through to 2026, with healthcare, education, and postsecondary education sectors to receive increases in budget.  

    The Ministry of Finance forecasts that Ontario will face a longer path to fiscal balance than projected in last spring’s budget, as high interest rates and inflation put pressure on the province’s economy. While unemployment remains low, with employment up 1% since April, projections for growth and job creation have been revised downward. The projected deficit for this year has increased to $5.6 billion, up from $1.3 billion in March, with Ontario expected to get back to balance in 2025-2026, with a projected $500-million surplus.  

    Over the next few days, we will review the details of the Fall Economic Statement in greater depth. 

    Please note that the Ontario Government will be launching the 2024 Budget Consultation platform and online survey on November 13, 2023. You can share your feedback and ideas by January 31, 2024. 

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


    Dr. Jessica Ng, PhD 

    Director, Policy & Government Affairs