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Hotels in Quebec to get helping hand as tourism industry hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video: 'Restaurant owners want the same benefits as hotels and tourism industry' Restaurant owners want the same benefits as hotels and tourism industry
WATCH: The Quebec government is giving the hotel and tourism industry a financial boost so they can survive COVID-19-related closures. But as Global’s Gloria Henriquez reports, there's one industry that feels forgotten and on the brink of financial demise – Nov 18, 2020

Quebec has unveiled a plan to help hotels weathering the financial storm from the novel coronavirus health crisis, but places with more than 300 rooms will have to wait.

Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx announced Wednesday that the province is injecting $38 million into hotels with four to 299 rooms that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Each establishment is entitled to up to $200,000, but Proulx said other measures are being discussed for larger hotels.

The funding is part of a larger sum of $65.5 million for the tourism sector already announced by Finance Minister Eric Girard in the province’s economic update last week.

Under the plan, the government is also setting aside $17 million for the three tourist entry points: the Montreal, Quebec City and Outaouais regions. However, the province did not give details on how that money will be distributed.

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Read more: Montreal tourism suffering historic lows due to coronavirus pandemic

The boost will help workers in the struggling industry, Proulx said Wednesday, adding that the pandemic made many people fear for their livelihood and passion.

She said the government is there to help businesses hit hard by shutdowns but the priority in Quebec, where there are lockdown measures in many regions, is to “save lives.”

Tourisme Montréal welcomed the announcement in a statement, saying the initiative will help preserve the sector in a city reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

“We are happy that our voices have been heard,” said Tourisme Montréal president and CEO Yves Lalumière.

In October, the organization said the city suffered historic tourism lows over the year due to the health crisis. The average amount of spending by international tourists fell by 95 per cent for the period of April to June, during the first wave when lockdown measures were in effect.

The provincial government injected $750 million into the embattled industry in June, with nearly half of the funding set aside for a loan program for tourism operators.

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With files from The Canadian Press 

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