A team at Niagara Region is working to provide direct financial support for tourism operators adapting their operations during COVID-19.
The Economic Rapid Response Team, which was established by the region last March, is administering the funding, called the Tourism Adaption and Recovery Fund Grant. It provides tourism-dependent businesses with up to $20,000 in non-repayable contributions to support costs associated with adapting and re-opening.
“Our tourism operators are critical contributors to Niagara’s economy, and while they have been hit especially hard by this pandemic, they have also shown remarkable resiliency and innovation. This direct financial support will go a long way in helping the many small, medium and large tourism operators across Niagara continue to weather this storm and keep Niagara on the path to economic prosperity,” said Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley.
These include projects such as space renovations and retrofits, the purchase of equipment and fixtures, personal protective equipment, and support for technology and digitization.
The grant is designed to help businesses continue to operate, particularly through the shoulder and off-season in 2020-2021. To be eligible, a business must currently be operating in the Niagara region and be tourism-dependent. The grant was previously administered separately to Niagara-on-the-lake and therefore not available for businesses in the town.
“This opportunity comes at a critical time for our tourism industry, and this grant will ensure these businesses are well-positioned to re-emerge stronger than ever and be able to showcase the resiliency and beauty of Niagara in the coming months and years.” said George Spezza, the region’s Director of Economic Development
Project costs must be incurred between June 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021. Priority will be given to projects that retain or create jobs, have a high job to dollar invested ratio and increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the business post-COVID-19.
Applications for the first round of funding close on Jan. 31. Businesses can apply for the fund through the ERRT’s website.
The ERRT is composed of economic development officials from across Niagara. It has been working throughout the pandemic to gather critical information from Niagara businesses and connect them with provincial and federal supports and information. Visit NiagaraCanada.com for more information.