Province supporting tourism businesses at provincial parks and conservation reserves
TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing over $1 million in financial relief to more than 300 resource-based tourism businesses operating at Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves by waiving and reducing certain land use and licence fees for 2021. The province’s continued support for the resource-based tourism industry will help local businesses that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Ontario’s tourism industry continues to be heavily impacted by public health and safety measures related to COVID-19, and this includes the hundreds of businesses that make our provincial parks and conservation reserves vibrant tourist destinations,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “By providing much-needed relief to these businesses, many of which are family-owned, not only are we investing in the future of Ontario Parks, we are supporting local job creators and the communities that depend on them.”
The 2021 relief for resource-based tourism businesses includes:
- Removing 2021 annual land use fees for commercial outpost camp permit holders.
- Reducing and deferring payment of land use fees for commercial youth camps until the 2022 season.
- Reducing license fees for some commercial operators under service agreements in Ontario Parks for 2021.
Resource-based businesses do not need to apply for this relief. Refunds or invoice adjustments will be automatically provided to eligible businesses currently operating in Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves.
This funding builds on the more than $1.3 million in relief provided to resource-based tourism operators at provincial parks and conservation reserves during the 2020 operating season. With these investments, total support from the Ontario government for the tourism, culture, sports, recreation, and heritage industries since the start of COVID-19 now totals $625 million.
- There are over 300 resource-based tourism businesses that operate in provincial parks and conservation reserves on a seasonal basis, with strong economic ties to the local communities. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these businesses have faced significant revenue loss, event cancellations or postponements and reduced future bookings.
- Ontario manages and protects 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves, totalling 8.6 million hectares or 9 per cent of the province – an area larger than the entire province of New Brunswick.
- Budget 2021 provided $1.3 million in financial relief for the resource-based tourism industry by waiving certain licences and Crown land use fees.
- Ontario’s system of provincial parks and conservation reserves is largely funded through the collection of user fees, including monies collected from resource-based tourism operations. The money collected in Ontario Parks stays in Ontario Parks and is used to offset the cost of operating the entire system.