Federal tourism funding coming to Windsor-Essex to help industry through COVID-19
Government promoting travel and tourism in Canada
The federal government is providing funding for tourism agencies in Windsor-Essex, as this summer's travel season will be radically different.
The money is meant to help them stage "Visit Local" campaigns, and groups like Tourism Windsor, Essex, Pelee Island and Tourism Leamington will be able to apply for a portion of the funding.
Minister of Economic Development Mélanie Joly said the money typically used for marketing has dropped along with hotel taxes.
"The idea right now is a lot of the destination marketing organizations need help," she said. "By giving them the money to do the right marketing campaign, to make sure that people locally can support the tourism operators or restaurants, it will be helping the different tourism business owners that are in dire need."
Joly said Ottawa is also providing cash to help businesses in tourism modify their facilities to abide by public health advice.
"There's a lot of anxiety and people are concerned. 2019 was their best year ever and we started 2020 in the same way," said Joly, explaining that the tourism industry was "the canary in the coalmine" for this pandemic because it was first impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds announced by Joly include $30 million originally intended to attract foreign visitors through the federal tourism marketing agency, Destination Canada.
Instead, the money will be used to help provinces and territories encourage Canadians to discover their "own backyard" as the country's international borders remain largely closed due to COVID-19.
The government is also setting aside around $40 million so tourism agencies in southern and northern Ontario, as well as western Canada, can adapt their operations to the pandemic.
It's unclear how much of the funds will be available for Windsor-Essex.