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Tourism Barrie releases 18-month recovery plan amid Ontario’s Phase 3 reopening

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the tourism and hospitality sectors have been hit heavily, with Tourism Barrie reporting economic difficulties in early May.
Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the tourism and hospitality sectors have been hit heavily, with Tourism Barrie reporting economic difficulties in early May. File

As Barrie continues into the third phase of Ontario’s reopening strategy, Tourism Barrie has released an 18-month recovery plan that focuses on hyperlocal marketing.

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the tourism and hospitality sectors have been hit heavily, with Tourism Barrie reporting economic difficulties in early May.

Read more: Tourism Barrie faces economic difficulty amid coronavirus crisis

The organization’s newly released recovery plan looks at local marketing strategies that are aimed at supporting staycations and city businesses throughout the summer and into the fall in Barrie.

By fall, Tourism Barrie expects it can start encouraging the regional community from surrounding municipalities to visit the city. If local authorities approve, the organization is also hoping to launch marketing campaigns that will start to invite Ontarians to Barrie for winter weekend getaways.

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“Tourism Barrie is leading tourism recovery by working with the City of Barrie and the tourism industry to amplify the messaging of when it is safe to reopen the visitor economy,” Barrie Tourism executive director Kathleen Trainor said in a statement.

Read more: Three new coronavirus cases reported in Simcoe Muskoka, local total climbs to 655

“Resilience will be to ensure the sustainability and growth of the tourism industry for the long-term by completing our three-year strategic plan that aligns with the City of Barrie’s aspirations for tourism.”

According to Tourism Barrie, the city’s visitor economy is worth more than $140 million annually.

“The goal is to create workable solutions with government and put the hotel industry and tourism operators back on stable ground,” Barrie Hotel Association president and Tourism Barrie board member, Ken Montgomerie, said in a statement.

Read more: Protective shields installed on Barrie buses; fare collection begins Aug. 1

“Time is of the essence for many businesses, and we need to act now so there will not be permanent job losses and grim consequences for businesses in the region that rely on tourists.”

Since the pandemic, Tourism Barrie has received less revenue from the municipal accommodation tax, but it’s implemented its own cost-saving measures and has also used different government assistance programs.

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Provincial funding to help tourism in Southeastern Ontario
Provincial funding to help tourism in Southeastern Ontario