ontario news watch

Feds launch tourism fund to help tourism businesses avoid spiral of debt, Joly says

OTTAWA — The federal government is offering easy financing for the country’s beleaguered tourism operators, which the minister in charge says should help companies mired in debt.

The sector has been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, as international travel has plummeted and domestic travellers are largely staying close to home.

Even as public health restrictions ease, Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly says the tourism operators she has spoken with feel some anxiety, as July is almost halfway over.

What the government is now offering them is a mix of non-repayable contributions or no-interest loans to finance capital improvements. 

And at least one-tenth of the $500 million being rolled out will go to Indigenous tourism operators and organizations for things like workforce training or national projects.

Joly says the government hopes the money helps businesses in the sector avoid a debt spiral that could end in more companies closing their doors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press