Reopening does not mean recovery—reopening must not become a substitute for vital government aid. see more
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.
Explore TIAO's advocacy efforts re: the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant see more
To alleviate the pressures of the pandemic-related recession and lockdown measures, in March 2021 the Government of Ontario announced the creation of the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant to help businesses in the tourism and travel sector. However, after its launch in May 2021, take-up of the grant had been lower than expected, as indicated by staff at the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.
In May 2021, TIAO conducted a survey to understand the factors behind the low take-up of the grant. Chiefly, the survey revealed challenges with grant eligibility criteria and application procedures which contributed to low take-up of the grant by early June.
The complete findings of this survey are available in our new research report, Early Business Engagement with the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant. This report provides a snapshot of business engagement with the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant circa late May to early June.
The report also outlines our advocacy on this issue. Since conducting the survey, TIAO has shared the survey data with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries so that they can review and address the issues experienced by businesses in accessing the grant. TIAO has additionally advocated for expansion of the grant eligibility criteria on eligible business activities. Largely in response to our policy feedback and advocacy, the Ministry has since made some changes to the application procedures for the grant, enabling more businesses to apply for this grant, particularly Northern Ontario businesses and Indigenous tourism businesses throughout Ontario.
Our survey data demonstrates our industry’s ongoing need for government support to alleviate the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This support is crucial to the capacity of Ontario’s tourism businesses to rebuild, recover, and remain sustainable for the long-term.
We will continue our policy advocacy to ensure that the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant continues to support the solvency and recovery of tourism businesses. Reopening does not mean recovery.
To access the complete research report please click here.
TIAO submits consultation feedback supporting this amendment and the gains it will offer businesses see more
From June 1-15, Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General held a public consultation to amend the Liquor Licence Act. The proposed amendment to Regulation 718 would remove the 360L cap on liquor that licensed representatives of manufacturers are permitted to store at their licensed premises for the purposes of delivering purchase orders.
In support of Ontario’s 200,000 tourism businesses—including restaurants, event planners, trade shows, travel accommodations, and suppliers—TIAO was pleased to submit consultation feedback supporting this amendment and the gains it will offer both businesses and customers. Amending Regulation 718 would reduce regulatory burden, offering greater flexibility to store beverage alcohol product at the manufacturer’s location when purchased by licensees.
What does this mean for businesses? Extra storage availability for licensees who have limited on-site space to store liquor (an issue especially in densely populated areas) and a more reliable supply of liquor to keep up with customer demand. As the province reopens and businesses and vendors look to meet Ontarians’ pent-up demand for dining, travel, and events, having a more reliable supply of liquor would help to ensure that tourism businesses are able to maximize their profit gains wherever possible.
As tourism and hospitality businesses begin to reopen after fifteen months of closures and unprecedented levels of revenue loss, the amendment to Regulation 718 would help support their recovery and rebuild.
TIAO - Tourism Industry Association of Ontario posted an articleGet Ready for Ontario’s Municipal Elections and the 2018 Ontario Tourism Summit: Take Advantage of Advance VotingDon't choose between OTS18 and voting—do both! see more
Municipal elections are happening across the province on Monday, Oct. 22. As a government advocacy organization, TIAO understands the importance of exercising our democratic rights.
It’s not lost on us that the Ontario Tourism Summit—our annual conference and the province’s tourism industry event of the year—kicks off the day after municipal elections. In fact, our pre-conference programming takes place on the same day that most Ontarians will head to the polls.
We care about your ability to vote, but we also want to see you at the Summit! So, we’re sharing some helpful links and information about how you can take advantage of advance voting and come to Windsor for OTS18 hassle-free. There are several conference sessions focussed on important local topics such as Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT), the legalization of recreational cannabis and workforce development; you shouldn’t have to choose between important learning and voting.
To get started on the path to advance voting, find out how your municipality is organizing its elections. There are 444 municipalities in Ontario, and you can find yours linked via this handy list published by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Ministry has also published a voters’ guide complete with everything you need to know, including important changes in effect this year, such as new rules surrounding third-party political advertising.
Different municipalities have different dates and methods for conducting advance voting. Explore your options, which can include submitting your ballot online, by phone or in person. It doesn’t matter how you vote, but it’s important that you do—not only to participate in the democratic process at the local level, but also to attend the Ontario Tourism Summit without compromise.
Here’s a more comprehensive list of the resources linked above:
- Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing main page for municipal elections
- Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing voters’ guide
- List of 444 Ontario municipalities
Happy voting, and we’ll see you in Windsor for OTS18. Because #TourismMatters.