TORONTO — It looks as though Ontario travel agencies could be eligible for one-time grants worth between $10,000 and $20,000 through the province’s Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant program.
The brand new program was announced March 24 by the province’s Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, as part of the 2021 Ontario Budget.
According to the budget, Ontario will provide an estimated $100 million in one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.
The wording goes: “Examples of eligible businesses include: Hotels, Motels, Travel Agencies, Amusement and Water Parks, Hunting and Fishing Camps and Recreational and Vacation Camps.”
It adds: “Application details, including a full list of eligible businesses, will be available soon.”
It also notes that any small businesses that received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will not be eligible for the new grant.
In addition to its advocacy work at the federal level, ACTA had been lobbying the provincial governments too, including Ontario, for support for travel agents amid the pandemic.
ACTA President Wendy Paradis told Travelweek: “To have the travel agency community specifically omitted from much needed financial support by the Ontario government has been very frustrating. After two months of intense lobbying efforts, ACTA welcomes the news announced in the Ontario Budget of the new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant.”
Paradis adds: “This targeted funding will provide an estimated $100 million in one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses. Further details will be available soon and we will ensure that the greatest number of travel agencies and travel agent businesses are eligible.”
As Bethlenfalvy outlined the details of the Ontario budget, titled ‘Protecting People’s Health and our Economy’, at Queen’s Park on March 24, he noted that tourism and hospitality have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic.
“Some 140,000 tourism and hospitality jobs were lost between February 2020 and February 2021,” said Bethlenfalvy.
Travelweek will be following this story as more details become available.