Windsor tourism sector scrambles to secure federal pandemic relief funding
$7 million available for southwestern Ontario
The federal government is making $7 million dollars available to the tourism sector in southwestern Ontario to help the industry recover from the pandemic.
The money — which comes from FedDev Ontario's Tourism Relief Fund — can be used for infrastructure projects such as new accessible washrooms, charging stations, websites and art installations but not for marketing and advertising.
"If you wanted to put solar panels on your roof, that would be eligible, trail experiences, product and program development. So there are a number of different opportunities here for the tourism and hospitality industry to take hold of and embrace," said Gordon Orr CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island.
The program is open to businesses, municipalities, BIA's and others in the tourism sector, except for hotel chains and restaurants, unless they can demonstrate they provide a specific tourism draw.
Teajai Travis, the executive director of Artcite in Windsor said this is just the thing they need right now. They could use a new accessible bathroom and money for an art installation would be a great boost.
"One of the things that we learned throughout the pandemic is that the life of the art institution is not just going to exist inside the gallery anymore. So if we have an opportunity to go out into the community, build a community by participating in community arts installations, that's a home run for us," said Travis.
Meanwhile, an official with the City of Windsor said they are reviewing the grant opportunity.
The government is taking applications starting April 12 but they have to be in by May 15. Orr said that's a tight timeline but he says there will be webinars to help.
The money is expected to start flowing by early summer.