Ontario reimburses you up to $ 200 for traveling in the province. Will that be enough to help rebuild a battered tourism industry?

Ontario will soon be yours to discover – at a discount.

From January 1, a new tax relief for Ontarians will allow local travelers to claim a 20 percent credit for most travel stays on their annual tax applications.

The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit, first announced in November, offers a maximum credit of $ 200 to individuals and $ 400 to families in an effort to stimulate the province’s violent tourism industry.

The credit lasts until the end of 2022 and applies to all rental housing, including hotels, motels, campsites, cabins and cabins.

It is a step in the right direction for an industry affected by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Tony Elenis, president of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, but it is “absolutely not enough” to get the sector back on its feet.

“Restaurants and motels have closed since COVID-19 hit. Those who remain are hanging by a thread and they now owe bank loans and personal loans. We will need more than one tax deduction to correct that,” he said. .

Once a powerhouse in the provincial economy, government-imposed restrictions aimed to curb the spread of COVID-19-destroyed businesses in the tourism sector. According to the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, more than 60 percent of tourism businesses were recovering from revenue losses of more than 90 percent by June 2021.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of businesses incurred at least $ 50,000 in debt to stay afloat, according to the Tourist Association.

Data from Statistics Canada shows that tourism-related industries lost 94,000 jobs between August 2019 and August 2021.

The province introduced the Tourism Recovery Program in September and promised $ 100 million to businesses that experienced a loss of at least 50 percent of revenue in 2020-21 compared to 2019. The Staycation credit, an additional measure to help the sector, will cost the province’s treasury an estimated $ 270 million.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath previously told Star that the credit was not enough to promote travel activity in the province.

“This … is $ 200. It really will not help families very much to get out there again and start enjoying Ontario,” she said.

But Treasury Secretary Peter Bethlenfalvy said the credit “puts money back in the pockets of Ontario travelers and families when they choose to travel right home.”

The discount amounts to $ 200 for people who spend $ 1,000 or more on travel accommodation.

Those who spend less will be entitled to claim 20 percent of what they paid; an overnight stay in a room of 300 USD per. night at Blue Mountain Resort, for example, will be eligible for a $ 60 discount.

It is a “positive step,” the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said in a statement, though “more is needed to spur the recovery of small businesses.”

The tourism industry, which generated more than $ 36 billion in economic activity before the pandemic, began recovering its losses before the Omicron variant of COVID-19 swept through the province, causing Queen’s Park to reintroduce limits on business capacity and Ottawa to tighten restrictions at international borders.

On Thursday, Ontario recorded a pandemic-high 13,807 new cases of COVID-19 – well above the previous record set last Wednesday.

Many restaurants, bars and retailers have temporarily closed the store while the variant spreads, while Queen’s Park and Ottawa have offered new financial subsidies to employees and independent businesses.

The president of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, Chris Bloore, said most tourism companies have come to rely on domestic travel for the majority of their profits as international travel remains stagnant.

“Domestic travel is an integral part of rebuilding our industry, so any effort to encourage Ontarians to get out and travel is encouraged,” Bloore said.

“But with the advent of Omicron, consumer confidence has been sent through the floor again.”

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