In March 2020, tourism came to a screeching halt as public safety measures kept most Canadians home and international borders closed. Now that vaccination efforts are paying off and declining case rates are allowing the easing of restrictions, tourism businesses and organizations from coast to coast to coast can look to the future.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has provided over $15.4 billion in direct supports to the tourism sector. Budget 2021 committed an additional $1 billion to help the tourism sector prepare to welcome domestic travelers and reposition Canada as a world-class destination. Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, launched $500-million in funding for the new Tourism Relief Fund. Eligible organizations can now submit applications to support the tourism sector prepare to welcome back domestic travelers and reposition Canada as a world-class destination.
Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) will deliver $485 million directly to businesses and organizations to help them adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth. As long-standing on the ground support to economic development and community growth, the RDAs are well positioned to deliver fast and efficient support to the tourism sector.
Indigenous communities that rely heavily on tourism have also been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In order to close this gap, the Government of Canada is investing a minimum of $50 million of the Tourism Relief Fund in Indigenous tourism projects.
In addition, $15 million, delivered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, will support destination development, seasonal and local attractions, and human resources and skills development.
By enabling tourism businesses and organizations to prepare for recovery through the development of new and enhanced products and offerings, the Government of Canada is driving economic growth and job creation from coast to coast to coast. The Tourism Relief Fund, part of the $1 billion in tourism supports announced in Budget 2021, will help tourism businesses bounce back, while making Canada a unique premier destination when it is safe for international visitors to return.