A message from the office of MPP Norm Miller
Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, had three opportunities to speak in the Legislature last week and used them all to inform his colleagues about the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector.
Over the past few weeks the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held hearings with the tourism sector to learn about the impacts of COVID-19. As a former tourism business owner and the representative for an area that depends heavily on tourism, Miller took part in about 30 of the 40 hours of the hearings.
On June 24, Miller made a Member’s Statement about some of the issues that were raised by tourism stakeholders during the hearings and then during Question Period asked Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, what the government is doing to support the recovery of this sector.
The Minister reiterated her efforts to support tourism and hospitality businesses with marketing dollars to encourage Ontarians to spend their vacation dollars in Ontario this summer. Locally that includes $350,000 in funding for local marketing by Explorer’s Edge, the local tourism marketing body, and $100,000 in funding for marketing by Resorts of Ontario, many of whose members are in Parry Sound-Muskoka.
“I will continue to do everything I can to advocate for those tourism businesses that are not yet allowed to operate or are limited to a point that operating doesn’t make sense like tour boat operators and attractions like Santa’s Village,” said Miller. “And both the Minister and I are working to encourage people to travel locally and within the province to support our local tourism and hospitality businesses this summer. Shop local. Eat local. Play local. And vacation local.”
Miller raised the same issues on Tuesday, June 23 during the debate on extending the Emergency Order until July 15, 2020. This extension does not mean the government is not reopening the economy. On the contrary it provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and necessary tools to safely and gradually reopen, while continuing to protect our most vulnerable and support front line healthcare workers.
In 2019 tourism and hospitality accounted for $36 billion in economic activity in Ontario. That supported thousands of small and medium-sized businesses and employed 400,000 Ontarians.
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