The NG Times Newspaper

The provincial government has released a report prepared by the Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force, which makes recommendations on how to support the province’s $36-billion tourism industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, was joined by Tim Hudak, Chair of the Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force, to provide details about the report, which will feed into the ministry’s strategic five-year plan.

The report provides 10 key recommendations about how to rebuild and reshape the future of Ontario’s tourism industry.

The recommendations include reducing red tape for tourism businesses, restoring consumer confidence in visitors through collaboration between public health officials and the tourism industry and encouraging Ontarians to experience the province through industry co-ordinated travel days.

The report also suggests new opportunities to showcase the best Ontario has to offer through itineraries, packages and trails that will make it easier to find local Ontario products and experiences.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on Ontario’s tourism industry. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have listened to and worked closely with industry experts from across our sectors to help assess the impacts of the pandemic and how best to support them,” said Minister MacLeod.

The Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force was asked to provide strategies and advice to help position Ontario and its local communities as destinations of choice for travel, as well as identify products and experiences that enhance destination development.

The task force’s report is informed by industry research, advice and recommendations put forward by the 14 Ministerial Advisory Councils at the onset of the pandemic, and formal submissions received from individuals and sector associations across Ontario’s tourism industry.

Minister Hudak served as the Task Force’s Chair. He said, the task force was, “comprised of a membership of so many talented tourism leaders to help craft a plan that will help people create memories of a lifetime. The work of this group will also play a key role in getting Ontarians back on the payroll in our tourism and hospitality sectors.”

Ontario will carefully review the task force’s recommendations. This input will be critical to the development of the ministry’s strategic five-year plan and will help encourage essential sector transformation, ensuring Ontario tourism continues to be a key pillar of the province’s economy and regional employment while remaining globally competitive for tourists and investment.

The Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force was created in March 2021 to provide advice and information to the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.

In December 2020, the ministry asked industry partners in the heritage, tourism, sports, and arts and culture sectors for their feedback on a White Paper.

The paper, Reconnecting Ontarians, is a broad-based recovery strategy that touches on all industries represented by the ministry.

Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario – in 2018, the tourism industry supported more than 390,000 jobs and generated over $36 billion of economic activity for the province.


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