Without Extended Subsidies, 60% of Canada’s Travel Sector Might Not Survive

The touristy Granville Street in Vancouver.
The touristy Granville Street in Vancouver.

As many as 60 per cent of Canada’s hardest-hit businesses will not survive if the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) are not extended beyond 05JUN, found a survey by The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, of which ACTA is a member.

The Coalition, which was formed in SEP 2020 to advocate for travel and tourism businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is formally appealing to the federal government to extend the two support programs to the end of the year.

The survey received over 1,700 respondents from across Canada.

“Our businesses were the first hit by the pandemic, the hardest hit by closures, and will be the last to recover. With extended support, we can thrive and survive. Without it, Canada’s tourism, culture and hospitality industries will be devastated for a generation,” said Beth Potter, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, hard-hit businesses that make up the coalition employed more than two million Canadians – about one in every 10 jobs. The membership is primarily Canadian-owned small or medium-sized businesses.

“For businesses that find their recovery impaired by the lingering effects of mass gathering bans and other public health policies, the CEWS and CERS programs will be a lifeline,” said Susie Grynol, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada.

“Their continuation would make the difference between a vibrant tourism and cultural industry in Canada, and a breakdown of the critical infrastructure that supports the travel and tourism sector.”

The Coalition hopes by summer, there will be an easing of restrictions and a modest return of leisure travel. However, conventions for this fall have already been cancelled and business travel will not recover in the short term.

“As a member of the Coalition, we support the Coalition’s request for the extension and enhancement of vital programs such as the wage and rent subsidy through to the end of 2021,” said Wendy Paradis, ACTA President.

Paradis said that ahead of the release of the Federal Budget on 19APR, ACTA has intensified lobbying efforts for the extension of government support programs, as well as funding to protect travel agencies and independent travel agents from recall commission should the government announce mandatory consumer refunds by airlines.

“The travel industry will be in a holding pattern until we see a fully developed roadmap to recovery from the federal government that includes the conditions and metrics required to start easing restrictions such as the mandatory hotel stop over program, the 14-day quarantine, the travel advisories and other measures,” said Paradis.

The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses is an industry-driven group of over 100 stakeholders representing a variety of sectors including tourism, travel, arts and culture, events and festivals, accommodation and hospitality.

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