The federal government will pump up $5.2 million into Ottawa Tourism to help the region market itself after the devastating body blow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money, announced Sunday by Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly, is part of a $213-million FedDev Ontario fund for small and medium sized businesses in Southern Ontario. The money will be delivered through the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and “will help it bring visitors back to the National Capital Region as the economy reopens,” the government said in a release.
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“Our tourism sector and the 1.8 million people it employs across Canada have been hit hard by COVID-19, and we’re here for them. During National Tourism Week, our message to the sector and those whose livelihoods depend on it is clear: we’re working with you to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. We’re working with you as our economy reopens so we can come back strong,” Jolie said in statement released Sunday.
Like many cities, Ottawa has been hard hit by the pandemic, which forced the cancellation of huge tourist draws such as Bluesfest, Ottawa Race Weekend and, of course, Canada Day itself.
The tourism industry adds $39.4 billion to Ontario’s economy annually and supports 820,000 jobs, either directly or indirectly, the government said.