Ottawa has revealed plans to try to help Canada’s ailing tourist industry laid low by COVID-19.
Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly announced Sunday that about $30 million originally intended to attract foreign visitors through the federal tourism marketing agency, Destination Canada, will now go to help provinces and territories to encourage Canadians to visit the rest of Canada.
Joly said the government is also setting aside around $40 million so tourism agencies can adapt their operations to the pandemic, particularly in what would normally be the busy summer season.
“A lot of people who have lost their jobs are in the tourism sector right now and the entire idea right now is to save the summer, but to save the summer differently,” Joly told The Canadian Press.
A report by Destination Canada suggests the sector could see total tourism spending decline by about a third from 2019 levels that generated nearly $105 billion in expenditures and contributed $43.5 billion in gross fomestic product.
The 2016 census counted 1.8 million Canadians employed in the tourism sector — 10.6 per cent of all employed individuals in Canada.
With files from The Canadian Press