OTTAWA — The Ontario government is investing $8 million in Ottawa Tourism and the Ottawa Convention Centre (Shaw Centre) 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 Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, and Shaw Centre President and CEO, Nina Kressler.
“Large gateway cities like 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 our convention centre in a key gateway city that attracts a high volume of visitors,” said Minister MacLeod. “This funding will enable the Shaw Centre and Ottawa Tourism to continue 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 leisure and business travel interest in Canada’s capital.”
Ottawa Tourism will receive $6 million to help with workforce development, marketing a regional brand and creating new niche tourism products and activities – leading to a stronger industry and increased visitation that will benefit regions across the province. The funding will be used to help alleviate losses, aid in recovery, and ensure Ottawa’s tourism businesses are ready to attract more visitors to the national capital region. 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.
The Shaw Centre will receive up to $2 million in stabilization funding this year 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 Shaw Centre 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.
Ottawa Tourism is an independent, industry-led not-for-profit that works with more than 450 tourism-related member businesses to profile Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region as a diverse place to visit or host major meetings and events.
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.
Tourism in the capital region contributes significantly to the Ontario economy. In 2018, overseas visitors spending in the Ottawa Tourism region generated over $708 million.
In 2020, Ontario’s hotel industry saw record lows, with occupancy in downtown Ottawa down more than 40 percentage points.
“Ottawa Tourism looks forward to investing these provincial funds into initiatives that will lead to increased visitation to this region and to our urban businesses that have seen added challenges. Our member businesses have shown their creativity and resiliency throughout the pandemic and will continue to innovate as we welcome visitors back to Canada’s capital. A strong visitor economy is important for Ottawa’s recovery.”
– Michael Crockatt
President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism
“This critical funding will allow us to maintain our core operations and ensure that the Shaw Centre remains a safe and welcoming space for our guests as we plan for a brighter future. Minister MacLeod has been a tremendous advocate for our industry, one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic. We look forward to working alongside our partner, Ottawa Tourism, to attract business events to and generate economic impact for this great city.”
– Nina Kressler
President and CEO, Shaw Centre
“This new funding is an excellent opportunity to encourage Ontarians to visit our nation’s capital, and experience the history, art, landmarks, picturesque towns and all that Ottawa has to offer. The tourism industry has taken a hit during these challenging times. Today’s announcement reinforces our government’s commitment to support the people of Ottawa and Ontario as we get our tourism economy back on track.”
– Goldie Ghamari
MPP for Carleton
“Ottawa’s tourism sector has been hard hit by the pandemic. With today’s announcement, we can start getting back on our feet. Our beautiful city has so much to offer and I know that Ottawa residents and businesses can’t wait to welcome back tourists to our impressive cultural landmarks, fantastic bars and restaurants, and beautiful landscape.”
– Jeremy Roberts
MPP for Ottawa West—Nepean