Coronavirus: Tourism industry gets financial support from Saskatchewan government

Click to play video: 'Tourism industry gets financial support from Sask. government' Tourism industry gets financial support from Sask. government
WATCH: The province is putting forward $35 million to help get Saskatchewan's tourism industry back on its feet – Aug 10, 2020

The head of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association (SHHA) says funding from the province will help the tourism industry, hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Saskatchewan government announced $35 million on Monday to support the sector.

Read more: Popular tourist attractions reopen in Regina

“With severe reductions in revenues, organizations will be under extreme pressure to find ways to manage their fixed costs and expenses in 2020,” said Jim Pence, president and CEO of the SHHA.

“We are very pleased with this significant investment in our industry by the government and we much appreciate their continued support and willingness to collaborate with us during this crisis.”

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The government estimates the tourism industry stands to lose at least $730 million in visitor spending during 2020-21 due to travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19.

Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said it will take time for the sector to recover.

“Saskatchewan’s tourism industry is critically important to our quality of life and attractiveness as a destination for investment,” Harrison said.

“This support will provide some immediate relief for accommodation properties, major event facilities and attractions, and will also focus on increasing demand, which will be essential to long-term recovery.”

Read more: Canadian tourism sector needs help through ‘very, very dire’ straits: industry heads

Under the Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program, hospitality, event and attraction operators can apply for a one-time, non-repayable emergency payment.

For the accommodation sector and large event facilities, payments will range from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on sales revenue.

Payments will range from $7,500 to $15,000 for attraction, tour or event operators with ongoing fixed costs.

Another $5 million will support marketing and increasing the demand for Saskatchewan tourism experiences.

“The new Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program will provide critically needed support to accommodations, venues, attractions and tourism businesses,” said Gene Makowsky, the minister responsible for Tourism Saskatchewan.

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“The $35-million investment will stimulate the sector’s recovery, build resiliency and help tourism operators continue to deliver remarkable Saskatchewan experiences.”

The government will start taking applications for the program at 2 p.m. on Aug. 24. The deadline to apply is Oct. 1.

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