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COVID-19: Ontario establishes new task force to help rebuild tourism industry

"We really want to position Ottawa as a global leader that will re-emerge, post-pandemic," says Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture industries Lisa MacLeod
2019-07-15 Bluesfest BackStreet Boys Scott Penner2
The Backstreet Boys playing RBC Bluesfest, 2019. Photo/ Scott Penner

The Government of Ontario has formed a new task force to help reshape and rebuild the province's $36-billion tourism industry, post-pandemic.

The Tourism Economic Recovery Task Force is chaired by former MPP and minister Tim Hudak, and is expected to provide strategies and advice, to position Ontario as a choice for for travel.

The voluntary task force will also offer a forum for sector partners and leaders to share ideas, collaborate, and provide advice.

Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, says Ottawa is one of the gateway cities for the task force, after it saw one of the biggest effects of COVID-19 on its tourism sector.

"Many of our rural communities actually experienced some over-tourism last summer -- that did not happen in Ottawa or Toronto," she explains. "We really want to position Ottawa as a global leader that will re-emerge, post-pandemic."

MacLeod adds, every dollar the province invests within Ottawa for festivals and events such as Bluesfest yields a return of $21.

The task force is expected to present a report with recommendations to minister MacLeod this spring.