TORONTO – The Ontario government is investing nearly $4.4 million to support the long-term sustainability of the province’s tourism industry.
This funding will help deliver innovative, safe experiences, like virtual festivals and events, and support tourism operators as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
Among the first recipients of the new Reconnect Festival and Event Program and the Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund are two local initiatives.
Riverfest Elora received $43,500 for Riverfest Elora Presents: Ice Jam at the Elora Mill.
And the Downtown Guelph Business Association received $100,220 for the Illuminate Downtown Guelph event.
“This pandemic continues to disproportionately impact tourism and culture – two major industries which were hit first, the hardest, and will take the longest to recover,” said Minister of Heritage, Culture Tourism and Sport Lisa MacLeod.
“It is critical that we support organizations as they adapt and find new ways to engage and reconnect Ontarians with their local communities while creating local jobs.”
MacLeod continued: “Through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program and the Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund, our government’s investments will help support the economic and social recovery of communities across Ontario, making sure we are well positioned to re-emerge stronger, and once again showcase how Ontario offers the world in one province.”
Through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, Ontario is investing more than $3.4 million to support 27 local events and initiatives.
These events are the first to be approved through the program, which was launched in October 2020.
This funding will support festival and event organizers as they adapt to new public health measures with virtual, drive-through and other safe offerings.
The Reconnect Festival and Event Program deadline is Dec. 22 at 5pm.
The government is waiving the minimum operating budget requirement to make the funding more accessible.
The Ontario government is also investing more than $912,000 in 14 initiatives through the Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund.
The $1.5-million fund is an application-based, cost-sharing program designed to fund projects that encourage the development of innovative new tourism products, support tourism investment or build the capacity of Ontario’s tourism industry.
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.