Dear Members, Partners and NOTL Community,
Canada’s Tourism Week, running from May 24-30, 2020, is an annual week-long national recognition of the contributions that Canada’s typically vibrant tourism sector makes to the economy and our communities. However, due to the global COVID-19 health pandemic, the sector has been decimated with no quick return to normalcy in sight and celebrations have been damped and moved online.
“There is no doubt that Tourism Week looks different this year. What is typically a time for us to come together and celebrate our growth and achievements, is now a time for us to come together while we face uncertainty and take a hard look at what happens next for a sector that was first-hit from the pandemic and will likely be the last to recover,” said Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of TIAC, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
In NOTL, as in the rest of Canada, the sector is comprised of mainly small and medium-sized businesses that are crucial employers in our community, and the pandemic has left many of them in a very difficult situation. “Prior to COVID-19, tourism was responsible for 1 in every 11 jobs in Canada and contributed over $102 billion to the Canadian economy on an annual basis – a significant economic engine for Canada and particularly for our community.”
Tourism is a crucial part of our local economy, including hotels, world class theaters, retailers, an airport, attractions, a destination marketing organization, meetings and conventions, festivals and events, restaurants, wineries, and more who operate across NOTL and contribute greatly to our local economy. The worry now is that without clear and robust incentives and support, many businesses will not make it through the crisis. “A large segment of our industry is seasonal, with the vast majority of businesses making their year’s worth of revenue between May and September. With the 2020 season diminishing and perhaps not reopening in time due to distancing measures and border closures, seasonal and other tourism businesses will lose most, if not all of their entire year’s revenues.”
This is why The Chamber of Commerce and Tourism NOTL through its participation in TIAC, TIAO, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and The Retail Council of Canada is urging local, regional, provincial and federal governments to consult and collaborate with the sector in developing much-needed recovery support and thoughtful measures for reopening the tourism economy safely and help incentivize tourism again as soon as it is safe to do so. Niagara-on-the-Lake simply cannot afford to lose its tourism industry.
We invite all residents and tourism stakeholders to join together as we highlight our industry’s contributions to the local economy and employment, and work together towards a safe recovery.
The Chamber and Tourism NOTL Team continues to monitor and provide updates on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Tonight our Newsletter is particularly charged with information, I invite you to browse through it, there are very interesting resources including the Reopening Guidelines and Protocols that might be helpful to your business.
Be well and stay healthy
Eduardo R. Lafforgue and The Team at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce and Tourism NOTL