TORONTO, ON., July 7, 2021 — It goes without saying that Toronto’s tourism sector has been devastated by the COVID pandemic. Today, the Ontario government has just announced that it is investing $16.3 million in Destination Toronto and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) as added relief to support tourism sector recovery in one of Ontario’s key gateway cities.
Details were provided today by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries during an announcement alongside Robert Housez, Immediate Past-Board Chair of Destination Toronto and General Manager of the Chelsea Hotel Toronto, and Lorenz Hassenstein, President and CEO of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
“Large gateway cities like Toronto and Ottawa have keenly felt the impact of COVID-19. That’s why our government is making these strategic investments – to foster industry sustainability and to support a convention centre in a key gateway city that attracts a high volume of visitors,” said Minister MacLeod. “This funding will enable the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Destination Toronto to adapt and respond to the new realities facing tourism businesses – ensuring that, when it is safe to do so, they are prepared for a renewed global interest in this amazing city.”
Destination Toronto will receive $9 million to help with workforce development, drive demand to the region, and to create new niche tourism products and activities – leading to a stronger industry and increased visitation that will benefit regions across the province. This funding will be used to help alleviate losses, aid in recovery and ensure Toronto’s tourism businesses are ready to attract more international visitors to Ontario. Many out-of-province visitors to Ontario’s other regions begin or end their time in Ontario in gateway cities such as Toronto and Ottawa.
“Toronto is a vital gateway for the world to visit Ontario, and the recovery of international visitation and major events is essential to Ontario’s broader economic recovery. These strategic investments announced by Minister MacLeod will support Toronto’s tourism and hospitality businesses and, as a true gateway, many communities and jobs throughout the province.”Robert Housez
Immediate Past-Chair of Destination Toronto and General Manager of the Chelsea Hotel Toronto
The MTCC will receive up to $7.3 million in stabilization funding to support its continued operation and maintenance. The funding will be used to cover core operating costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance and health and safety costs, enabling the MTCC to sustain operations, prevent insolvency and prepare for re-opening.
These investments will help sustain operations, protect jobs, and support short- and long-term recovery planning amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On July 6, 2021, the Ontario government announced an investment of up to $8 million in the Ottawa Convention Centre (Shaw Centre) and Ottawa Tourism.
- Destination Toronto is an independent, industry-led not-for-profit that markets and promotes the city to global travellers, attracts and supports major meetings and events, and supports local businesses.
- Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, brings total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion.
- Ontario is investing more than $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support tourism, culture, sport and recreation sectors. This builds on investments of $225 million announced earlier, bringing the total support for these sectors to more than $625 million since the pandemic began.
- Toronto tourism contributes significantly to the Ontario economy. In 2018, overseas visitor spending in the Destination Toronto region generated more $3 billion.
- In 2020, Ontario’s hotel industry saw record lows, with occupancy in downtown Toronto down 56 percentage points.