COVID-19's impact on tourism far-reaching, says industry CEO
'Financial aid for seasonal operators is crucial right now'
When Kevin Mouflier lists off all the tourism sectors affected by COVID-19, it's easy to see why he's concerned not only for the industry, but how it will impact P.E.I.'s overall economy.
The list is long: Restaurants, cruise ships, experiential tourism, tour guides, motorcoaches, golf, theatre, gift shops, sports tourism, cultural attractions and more are all negatively affected, said Mouflier, the CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I.
"It's significant," he said. "Tourism provides a significant economic impact to our province, generating over $70 million in tax revenues ... supporting various sectors as well, health, education, roads."
Mouflier said hundreds of people have already been laid off in P.E.I.'s tourism sector. Governments have announced financial aid packages, including Monday's federal announcement of a 75 per cent wage subsidy for businesses who have lost at least 30 per cent of their business. Mouflier said that helps, as long as there is clarity about who qualifies.
"Financial aid for seasonal operators is crucial right now and for entrepreneurs to decide whether or not they are going to open this year, and we don't want to see a lot of them that are not."
'We are mighty'
Mouflier said when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, everyone will have to come together to rebuild the industry.
"We've got to plan to make that effective message to the public that we are a safe destination," he said.
"We are mighty and we are resilient as an industry and we can all work together toward success into the future."
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With files from CBC News: Compass