Coronavirus and Tourism in Manitoba
May 20, 2020
Dear Industry Partners,
As tourism businesses large and small continue to struggle during this pandemic, provincial and federal aid programs have been a welcome source of support. But some businesses are still falling through the cracks, particularly in rural and remote communities. Many small and medium sized businesses have been severely impacted by COVID-19, and yet are ineligible for some federal programs.
So we were very pleased to see that last week, the federal government announced that western Canadian businesses can now apply for the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). The $962 million fund—including $304.2 million for Western Canada—is to support businesses economically impacted by COVID-19 in a way that is tailored to their unique needs.
The new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is being delivered by regional development agencies (RDAs) to help businesses and organizations, including in the tourism sector, that are key to the regions and local economies. RDAs are the best positioned to provide this additional support as they work closely with communities across the country every day and understand the diverse local realities. In Manitoba, this is the provincial Community Futures program.
Businesses are encouraged to visit the WD website to learn about eligibility criteria and determine which funding stream is right for them. Please consult the Program Guidelines prior to submitting an application.
Should you have additional questions, please contact the WD office in Manitoba.
We were also pleased to learn last week that the provincial government has established a new Premier’s Economic Opportunities Advisory Board to chart Manitoba’s course for reopening its economy and renewing its growth. The 18-member advisory board includes leaders in Manitoba in transportation, real estate, agriculture, education and manufacturing, as well as tourism through the participation of Dayna Spiring, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg and Tourism Winnipeg, and Lea Ledohowski, president of Canad Inns, Manitoba’s largest hospitality provider for more than 40 years. The Board’s mandate is to advise the government on ways to harness private-sector capital and investment to recover and create jobs and economic growth across the province.
And finally, I want to again thank all of you who attended our Industry Webinar last week. We received tremendous feedback from some of the 300 participants. If you were not able to attend, you can view the presentation here.
Those in attendance will have seen that our upcoming recovery campaign will begin with a call to Manitobans to travel within the province this summer and fall, supporting local businesses while seeing all that Manitoba has to offer. It seems Manitobans are already in that frame of mind, as a recent poll from Probe Research showed that Manitobans are stepping up to support more local businesses during the pandemic. 58% of respondents said they have been buying more goods and services from local, Manitoba-owned businesses since the pandemic began. Young adults have been leading the way, as 63% of those aged 18-34 say they’ve been shopping local.
So as the warm weather continues, we are encouraged that Manitobans will agree that “Home is where the heart is”, and this summer, will show Manitoba some love.
Stay safe, stay well, stay home,
Travel Manitoba President & CEO