NOTO, Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO), and Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)’s Joint Press Release
In an effort to amplify the voice of our seasonal tourism businesses, NOTO collaborated with Indigenous Tourism Ontario and Tourism Industry Association of Ontario to issue the following press release today.
We will continue to press for meaningful support from both Federal and Provincial Governments to help our resource-based tourism businesses through this difficult time.
Laurie – Executive Director of NOTO
Indigenous and Seasonal Tourism Businesses Facing Permanent Closure Without Immediate Support
Anishinabek & Cree Traditional Territory (Northern Ontario), April 21, 2020 — Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO), Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario (NOTO) with support from the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) are appealing to the Provincial and Federal Governments to provide meaningful support to all seasonal tourism businesses across Northern Ontario.
There are over 1,000 seasonal lodges, resorts and campgrounds across Northern Ontario that are currently struggling to survive this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. These businesses cater to anglers, hunters, outdoor recreationists, and those seeking Indigenous cultural experiences who are from Canada and the United States, but also all over the world.
These businesses and their guests contribute over $400 million in GDP which is retained in Northern Ontario during a 4 to 5-month operating season.
There are hundreds of small Indigenous business and thousands of Indigenous people that rely on the tourism sector in Northern Ontario to provide revenue generating avenues and meaningful work experiences to maintain and try to improve their socio-economic conditions. Demand for Indigenous experiences has never been higher and many of these businesses and jobs will not exist in 3-12 months.
Although there is some great work being done, the small business relief eligibility criteria prevent many seasonal businesses from being able to apply for the various wage subsidy and loan programs. Without these supports and no revenues coming in, business owners are looking at the potential of closing their doors permanently.
NOTO believes support is needed from the Province to waive costs like annual Crown resource fees for bear management areas, land use permits and bait harvester licences. These are annual fees that tourism businesses in Northern Ontario pay in order to continue to offer some outdoor experiences on Crown land. The approximate total of these annual fees to the industry is $1.2 million.