Our Attractions Need Help

Tourism is a major employer in Canada.  Attractions across the province are closed as we struggle with COVID-19.  Many of them will never reopen again, undermining Canada's economic recovery.  We are asking the Government of Canada to come forward with a proper economic recovery plan to Save Our Attractions.

Our Need Is Great

Tourism Facts


Attractions Ontario is the provincial organization dedicated to supporting the attractions sector of the tourism industry. The organization represents more than 550 tourism businesses of all sizes. At the provincial and federal levels, recovery is the focus of the tourism industry. Without immediate, substantial revenue and recovery measures, there will be nothing for Ontarians, Canadians, and International Travellers to do once they lift restrictions on travel.

Quick Facts

- Tourism is Canada’s 5th largest sector and accounts for 10% of Canadians’ jobs and 2% of our GDP

- The tourism sector is unlikely to bounce back quickly. The summer season (July-August) accounts for 36% of the tourism sector’s annual revenues and almost all of their profits. Our business will continue to struggle even if they are allowed to open this summer; many will struggle to remain viable over the next 12-14 months. If we remain closed (or with a partial opening), tourism businesses will lose 58% of their annual revenue.

- 61,000 tourism businesses (57% of the total) across the country are projected to fail by May 31. This will result in a loss of 1.7 million permanent jobs.

- 54% of attractions across the country are at risk of closing by May 31, accounting for 76% of attractions jobs (276,000). 

- Growth of consumer debt and the slowing of international travel will have an impact on the sector’s ability to recover.

- Tourism in Ontario contributes $4.2 billion in taxation to both the Federal and Provincial governments 

(information derived from the Destination Canada report: Sustaining Canada's Tourism Sector Through COVID-19)

Other tourism facts:

  • 46% of Ontario residents are not supportive of intra-provincial tourists and 71% of Ontarians are not supportive of International tourists at this time 
  • Three in four Canadians are not planning to take a vacation this year and  
  • 67% of Canadians will not make any vacation/trip plans till the situation is normal in Canada 
  • 48% of Canadians now think their job or business is threatened by COVID-19
  • Nearly 75% of Canadians agree that they won’t feel comfortable till a vaccine or treatment is developed
  • Employment in Ontario decreased by 403,000 or -5.3% in March 2020 compared to February 2020; 252,000 of those jobs are tourism-related
  • $214,915 is the average loss to small businesses due to COVID-19 so far
  • 42% of Ontarians are likely to avoid travel even within their own province

Worst case scenario

  • Estimated $47.4B in loss Canadian tourism revenue in 2020 and $14B in 2021 compared to 2019 
  • Ontario will feel the largest impact with an expected $18.3B loss in tourism revenue compared to 2019
  • Estimated 337K in loss Canadian tourism related jobs in 2020, with Ontario feeling the largest impact with 129K job loss



Our Ask To The Government of Canada

Federal Assistance Request


The current measures are putting attractions in more debt and higher risk. By providing revenue relief, attractions will meet their current financial obligations, do maintenance and repair and plan for re-opening. Debt-loads will minimally increase, and most attractions will be able to re-open (and survive) once the crisis has passed.  These requests will be updated as information becomes available.

Two requests are being made of the Federal Government dealing with the liquidity of our tourism businesses:

1. A forgivable loan provided by the banks but funded and guaranteed by the federal government paid back through newly generated HST. 

2. A government grant made up of the HST earned by the business during the last two quarters of 2019. 

This emergency loan program should be managed as such:

1. Facilitate rapid processing through Chartered Banks and Credit Unions rather than through BDC. Provide lending institutions with a simple checklist to verify business solvency on March 15. 

2. Establish a forgivable portion of these loans for amounts paid for wages, rent, mortgage and utilities up to the period when revenue reaches 70% of regular monthly activity 

Additional requests:

1. Extend the CEWS to the end of QT 3 2020 or one additional quarter following the end of a lockdown: The detrimental effects of the COVID-19 Virus to tourism operations have far-reaching implications beyond the end of the current lockdown. It will be a gradual slow road to recovery stemming from health control and consumer confidence views taking a toll on the business’ fiscal operation. Allow seasonal businesses who have not been able to report loses in March, April and May qualify for the program. UPDATE: CEWS has been extended through the summer.  One win for our industry.

2. Reduce Insurance Premiums for the Length of the Shutdown: Insurance companies should be required to provide a rebate on liability insurance premiums paid during the shutdown. With no employees or customers in their locations, there was limited liability and little to no claims requiring payouts by the insurance companies. This time of lockdown should not be a boon to the insurance industry at the expense of small business.

3. Adjustment to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program: Freeze all commercial evictions backdated until April 1.  Increase the rental allowance to business from 50% to 75% and remove the provision that the landlord is required to apply. Include in the program any commercial leases/licenses businesses have that include their location of operation (such as open lands or dock space). Extend program until the end of September.


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