Canada – Statement by Minister Joly marking Tourism Week in Canada and commending the resilience of businesses in the tourism sector

Ottawa, Ontario

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, made the following statement marking Tourism Week in Canada:

“Today is the beginning of Tourism Week in Canada. While in previous years, it was an opportunity to celebrate the sector’s many successes, it now caps a particularly difficult period. While we cannot downplay the toll the pandemic has taken on the sector, there are still important opportunities for businesses. When it is safe to travel, Canada’s tourism sector will once again thrive, showcasing the country’s natural beauty and the diversity of its people.

“We also welcome this occasion to commend the remarkable efforts of businesses in the tourism sector that have shown resilience and determination in the face of economic uncertainty while taking meaningful steps to respond to a global health crisis.

“Our government has been there every step of the way to offer various sources of support to keep tourism businesses afloat and explore strategies for the sector’s recovery.

“We’ve helped small businesses pay their workers, rent and mortgages and cover their expenses through ongoing emergency support programs such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support, and the Canada Emergency Business Account. Businesses and non-profit organizations in the tourism, arts and culture sectors have received an estimated $15.4 billion in pandemic support to date, and we’re committed to further assisting these hard-hit sectors.

“In Budget 2021, our government proposes to fuel their recovery through a package of supports, totalling $1 billion over three years, including the creation of a $500-million Tourism Relief Fund to support tourism businesses, help them recover from the pandemic and position themselves for future growth.

“There is reason to hope, and we will keep feeding that hope. Canada’s vaccination effort is well under way. The Prime Minister has confirmed that there will be enough COVID-19 vaccines to offer every eligible and willing Canadian their first dose by this summer and enough doses for everyone to be fully vaccinated by September. Ongoing restrictions and Canadians’ efforts to respect public health guidelines are helping get us closer to being able to travel.

“Please rest assured that we are constantly evaluating the situation and making decisions based on the evolving scientific data available and the advice of public health officials. When the time is right, we look forward to all coming together again, exploring this great country, and welcoming visitors from near and far.

“The end of the pandemic is close, and we all need to work together to get there. Our government is listening to Canada’s tourism businesses so we can continue to support them as they adapt, rebuild and grow.

“To Canada’s tourism businesses: Thank you for all the efforts you’ve made to keep Canadians safe. International visitors are keen to once again step foot on Canadian soil, and we are anxious to welcome them when appropriate and to hold festivals, events, conventions and meetings. I encourage all Canadians to choose a Canadian destination for their travel plans when restrictions are lifted. You are key to supporting the recovery of the tourism sector, and there are so many beautiful places to discover right here at home.”

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

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