Funding will help local tourism recover from pandemic

Central Counties Tourism, the organization that represents York, Durham and Headwaters Tourism Regions, will receive $8 million in federal funding to help it recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Markham-Stouffville MP Helena Jaczek, the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, announced $68.5 million in funding through 11 Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) and the Tourism Relief Fund for Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO).

“The tourism sector is vital to communities and drives economic growth in local economies in southern Ontario and across Canada. Our government will continue to ensure the tourism sector has the tools it needs to recover so it is well-positioned for a strong and resilient economic future,” Jaczek says.

Central Counties Tourism’s marketing and communication plans highlight the region’s unique offerings through the development of its consumer brand, York Durham Headwaters. RTOs are independent, not-for-profit organizations that are responsible for tourism marketing, development and management at a regional level.

As part of the federal investment, the RTOs will also receive a combined investment of $65 million to distribute funding through non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 to tourism-oriented businesses and organizations to innovate and invest in new and enhanced tourism experiences to attract visitors.

The tourism industry accounts for $39.4 billion of Ontario’s gross domestic product and supports more than 820,000 jobs. Ontario has the largest Indigenous tourism industry in Canada, contributing $622 million of gross domestic product.

The federal government says the overall investment will support 1,340 tourism entities and create and maintain 4,200 jobs. More information on how to apply for support will soon be available on the ITO and eligible RTO websites.

Photo: Joyride 150 Indoor Bike Park is one of the many York Region unique offerings. Rothphoto courtesy of Central Counties Tourism. 

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