Originally Published in the July 1993 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.
The following News Release was received in the NOTO office on June 18, 1993, from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation
Ontario Culture, Tourism and Recreation Minister Anne Swarbick has announced an enhanced $10 million financial assistance package for the tourism industry. She made the announcement yesterday when she met with Ontario’s tourism industry leaders and operators, in Toronto.
“The Ontario Tourism Loan Program is a reallocation of existing financial assistance dollars in a way that is more responsive to the industry’s immediate financial pressures,” said the Minister. In response to industry requests, the program’s new criteria will provide eligible firms with funds for debt restructuring.
Funding will be available for developing business restructuring plans; as loan assistance for both financial restructuring, as well as for capital assistance. Eligible firms will demonstrate unique travel-generating features and be of strategic value to Ontario’s tourism industry.
“This is not a bail-out program,” said the Minister. “This program will assist viable tourism operations in the accommodation sector which are facing the severe impact of the economic recession. The rate of bankruptcies in the industry has been high and there have been many job losses. With this approach, the government is committed to work with the industry to avoid bankruptcies and further job losses. “The Ministry is using up to $10 million in regionally-based tourism financial assistance funding already in place, and expanding eligibility criteria to improve access to financial assistance province-wide. The program will continue to set aside significant allocations for assistance in Northern and Eastern Ontario, while for the first time, extending help to tourism operators in southern Ontario who have been especially hit hard.
The program will have four components: $4.6 million under Destinations North; $2 million under Destinations East; and $3 million under Destinations South, with an additional $400,000 for an Ontario Tourism Grant component.
Bruce Stanton, Chair of Tourism Ontario, said he is quite optimistic about the new program. “We are very pleased that the Ontario government has listened to our Federation and is prepared to assist otherwise viable businesses in our industry to restructure their debt, enhance cash flow, and reposition themselves for the future,” said Mr. Stanton. “The vital Ontario tourism industry views this initiative as a positive step in a series of co-operative ventures that Tourism Ontario has recommended to the provincial government to strengthen the competitive position of our industry and to increase its extensive economic and social value to virtually every community in Ontario,” he added.
“The provincial Government recognizes the impact the recession has had on this industry, and on the accommodation sub-sector in particular,” said the Minister. Existing financial assistance programs were developed in the 1980’s, when Ontario’s economy was booming and the industry’s needs were much different. One way the government can make a difference is to make more efficient use of its resources, she said.
The Minister also noted that the Ministry’s tourism field consultants will make business restructuring a major focus of their services to the industry, to help those firms in need to develop in-depth business restructuring plans.
“This is a dynamic industry with strong potential for growth. It provides important jobs in communities and rural areas throughout Ontario. It also makes significant tax contributions to the province and to every municipality in Ontario. I am pleased our government is maintaining its commitment to this vital industry,” she added.