There’s really no measurement for which industry has been hit the worst because of COVID-19, but not being able to leave your home the last couple of months has meant not only could you not go anywhere in town, but you really couldn’t go anywhere in anyone else’s town either. The Federal government is looking to do their part to help encourage tourism again as areas continue to re-open in the weeks to come, and Guelph is a recipient of some of that new funding.
On Friday, the City of Guelph announced that the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) has granted Guelph $100,901 to help increase local tourism as the economy continues to re-open as the pandemic abates. This money will go to cover marketing initiatives and projects that will encourage tourism to Guelph, and help generate new revenue for tourist-based businesses and organizations.
“COVID-19 has impacted businesses and organizations across the province and Guelph’s tourism industry is experiencing the same hardships,” said Danna Evans, general manager of Culture, Tourism and Community Investment in a statement. “Funding from the RRRF will enable the City to create new opportunities and projects that entice visitors to come to shop, play and stay in Guelph, when the time is right.”
Over $30 million of funding has been made available through FedDev Ontario for the RRRF. According to the City, this is a quick turnaround for Federal money given that City staff just submitted their application on June 15, and were then told about the successful grant by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) just 10 days later.
According to the City of Guelph, tourism represents $283 million for the local economy as the Royal City receives 1.7 million annual visitors. Those numbers will likely take a big dip in 2020 with amenities like Guelph Museums still closed, and big festivals like Hillside, Ribfest, and the Scottish Festival in Fergus, which attracts a lot of overflow to Guelph, all cancelled or postponed.
This is the second allotment of Federal money that Guelph’s received this week following Tuesday’s announcement that the City is receiving millions in infrastructure funds for bike lanes and a new terminal at Guelph Central Station.