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Building a consumer habit of domestic spending that supports our industry year over year and helps insulate it from global disruptions begins with encouraging Ontarians to rediscover local—putting Ontario dollars back into Ontario. As such, we support the extension of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit through 2023.
With the support of the Ontario government, the tourism industry in Ontario is moving forward with rebuilding its $36 billion economic impact: our businesses are ramping up, regaining and creating new visitor markets, and developing innovative offerings to appeal to growing volumes of visitors.
We thank the Government of Ontario for implementing the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022, which is helping Ontarians rediscover the unique visitor experiences that we have to offer. By incentivizing stays at eligible accommodations, the Tax Credit is encouraging domestic visitor spending in Ontario destinations, thus supporting local visitor economies as a whole.
In our conversations with local visitors, we have heard how the Tax Credit encouraged them to stay in Ontario, book a trip where they had never visited before, and spend more on their visit than they normally would. The full benefit remains to be seen, as many Ontarians are just beginning to resume travel and many have yet to take advantage of the Staycation Tax Credit.
Yet, we are hearing about the positive impact of the Staycation Tax Credit from our members, with destinations creating competitive offerings around it to showcase the breadth of local tourism experiences and incentivize visitor spending. For instance, Ottawa Tourism’s ‘3rd Night on Us’ campaign encouraged visitors to choose Ottawa for their next staycation and to explore the city for longer, with the third night on Ottawa Tourism. Mississauga Tourism’s ‘It Pays to Stay’ campaign enticed staycation-goers with a VISA gift card and attractions pass to explore more of the city while maximizing savings. Tourism businesses have additionally expressed support for extending the Staycation Tax Credit in a recent TIAO survey.
To encourage Ontarians to visit the province’s many waterfront destinations, we also support expanding the Tax Credit to include transient boating—an activity fulfilling the intent of the Staycation Tax Credit while generating about $2.3 billion annually in local spending. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this recommendation further.
Thank you for supporting the future of tourism in Ontario!