TORONTO — More aid is coming to travel agencies and small tourism businesses, courtesy of the Ontario government’s just-announced $100 million grant.
Announced today by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant will provide one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to support eligible small tourism and travel businesses struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Small business owners can use the grant in whatever way makes the most sense for their business. Applications for the grant will close on Friday, June 25, 2021. For information on eligibility and how to apply go to www.ontario.ca/covidsupport.
According to MacLeod, the grant will support businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG), which include travel agents, hotels, motels, resorts and bed and breakfasts. To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020.
“Prior to the pandemic, Ontario’s tourism generated more than $36 billion in economic activity and supported more than 400,000 jobs across the province,” said MacLeod. “Our government is working with small businesses to overcome the challenges of the past year – through programs like the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant – and help the tourism industry reclaim its place as an economic powerhouse and key job creator in our province.”
Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, noted that the 2021 Budget made room to include funding for the new grant.
“We know that tourism businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, as people and employers follow the necessary public health measures to keep people safe,” he said. “The Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant will provide direct one-time payments to help thousands of businesses in Ontario.”
As announced in the 2021 Budget, Ontario is investing more than $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support tourism, hospitality, culture, sport and recreation sectors. This builds on investments of $225 million announced earlier, bringing the total support for these sectors to more than $625 million since the pandemic began.
According to Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the government will be ready to deliver payments to the tourism businesses that have faced revenue loss, which will complement fee relief already provided to travel agents and wholesalers earlier in the pandemic.
“This substantial grant will support their bottom line and help them keep Ontarians safe until we can once again enjoy travel with friends and family,” said Thompson.
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