Sunrise over the Grand River

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Industry News

The Government of Canada invests nearly $7.5 million in community infrastructure and tourism to grow the economy across the Golden Horseshoe. 

On January 9th, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), along with Lisa Hepfner, Member of Parliament for Hamilton Mountain, announced a total investment of nearly $7.5 million for 31 projects across the Golden Horseshoe, including Hamilton, Halton, Haldimand-Norfolk and Brant. These investments, through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) and the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF), will create and rejuvenate community spaces and enhance tourism attractions to welcome more visitors and build stronger, more vibrant communities that will lead to job creation, and a growing economy that works for everyone. 
The full list of all 31 projects can be found on the Government of Canada's Website.

Funding and Financial Relief Programs

Applications Open for the Tourism Growth Program in Southern Ontario

Delivered by Canada's regional development agencies (RDAs), the Tourism Growth Program (TGP) provides $108 million over 3 years to support communities, small- and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organizations in developing local tourism products and experiences. Applications are being accepted from November 20, 2023 to February 29, 2024 8:59 p.m. eastern time. There is no deadline for Indigenous applicants.

Indigenous Applicants

Indigenous tourism is vital to our communities and to the economic development and growth of Canada's tourism industry. That is why it is a priority under the TGP. Through the $108-million TGP, approximately 15% will support Indigenous tourism-led initiatives. Indigenous applicants may submit their applications anytime by contacting us at

Eligible applicants include:

  • incorporated small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the tourism industry
  • Indigenous-owned businesses (including Indigenous sole proprietors) or Indigenous tourism organizations
  • not-for-profit organizations (including tourism associations and economic development organizations)
  • governments (municipal/provincial/territorial and related entities)

Eligible activities

Eligible projects should provide added value to existing activities in the tourism industry and focus on business and economic growth. Priority may be given to projects that:

  • support the Indigenous tourism industry
  • increase tourism benefits for communities by driving visitation from urban areas to rural areas
  • support economic, environmental and cultural sustainability
  • support active outdoor experiences
  • extend the tourism season (e.g., new or expanded tourism offerings outside of the traditional high season)
  • complement support provided through provincial programs

Financial Assistance

  • For small- and medium-sized enterprises
    • contributions will normally be repayable
  • For not-for-profit organizations
    • contributions will normally be non-repayable

For more information and to apply, please visit the Government of Canada's website.

Applications Open for Indigenous Economic Development Fund and Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program 

Applications for the Indigenous Economic Development Fund (IEDF) and the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program (ICCGP) are now open until early March 2023. This funding provides $3.2 million through the IEDF and $6 million through the ICCGP to promote economic development in Indigenous communities and increase employment opportunities for Indigenous people.

The IEDF provides grants and financing through two streams of funding to projects that diversify Indigenous economies, provide access to training opportunities, and support economic development initiatives through collaboration between Indigenous communities and the private sector.

The ICCGP funds community capital projects in all phases including feasibility studies, design, construction, and renovation of buildings such as community centres in First Nations and Métis communities and Indigenous organizations on- and off-reserve.

Previously funded projects include a business venture supporting Indigenous artisans, a cultural experiences project to increase tourism employment, and the development of a community service centre.

For more information and to apply, please visit the Government of Ontario's Website.

Propel: Student Work Placement Program

Tourism HR Canada announced the launch of a federally funded Student Work Placement Program offering paid work-integrated learning opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Called Propel, the new program benefits the full spectrum of the visitor economy as it emerges from the crushing impact of the pandemic. Propel coordinates wage subsidies for registered Canadian businesses, startups, and not-for-profits related to the tourism and hospitality sector. The position being covered must be a work-integrated learning opportunity for a post-secondary student.

Students, employers and post-secondary institutions in the tourism and hospitality sector can find out more information on TourismHR's website.

Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) has three aims:

  1. to increase cultural tourism by providing investments to assist Ontario organizations to develop, promote and present one- off or first time events, or a significant expansion of existing activity, which are designed to attract new tourists and visitors to cultural events;
  2. increase the earned revenue capability of the applicant organization; and
  3. support events that foster economic growth and contribute to job creation.

OCAF achieves this by providing up front working capital directed towards the applicant’s marketing and promotional costs, with the investment taking the form of a partially repayable loan.

Applying to the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund is a two-stage process, which ensures that organizations do not dedicate significant time, effort and resources to an ineligible project. The OCAF Program Guide provides all relevant criteria about the application process. 

  • Stage 1 requires the applicant to complete a three-page form with basic information about the proposed project and target market. This application is reviewed by program staff.  If the project meets the general eligibility criteria, applicants will be provided with the Stage 2 application form.
  • The Stage 2 application requires the development of a detailed business case that includes a marketing plan, attendance and revenue projections and an analysis of the benefits of the project for the community. Stage 2 applications are reviewed by the OCAF board once staff has done a preliminary assessment.

Additional information and the program application is available on the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund website.

Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster

Offered through the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster funding program supports costs related to hosting a major one-time event in Ontario. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, however you must submit your application at least four months before your event start date.

RTO3 Partnership Funding

The Heart of Ontario is committed to working with regional tourism industry partners to create high quality, new or enhanced experiences that will drive new visits and spending in the region of Hamilton Halton Brant. There are four streams regional industry partners can participate in to promote, develop and deliver events, experiences or offers.

Eligible partners include:

  • Tourism Enterprises & Related Businesses
  • Destination Management Organizations
  • Business Improvement Associations
  • Tourism Organizations
  • Accommodations
  • Municipalities
  • Associations or interest groups with an active interest in tourism

Details can be found on the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association website.

Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has announced the launch of the 2023 Tourism Development Fund, formerly known as the Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund. The fund supports projects that encourage the development of innovative new tourism products, support tourism investment or build the capacity of Ontario’s tourism industry to foster new tourism investment.

The Tourism Development Fund 2023 program aims to support projects that will increase tourist visitation and visitor spending in Ontario by: 

  • Developing innovative tourism products and experiences 
  • Increasing domestic and/or foreign private sector tourism investment 
  • Strengthening the skills, resources and abilities of the tourism industry to attract or support new tourism investments 

The application period is now open – applications will be accepted until September 14, 2023, at 5 p.m. (ET). 

For information on how to apply, please click here. For more information about the program, please click here

Training and Networking Opportunities

Indigenous Tourism Ontario – Business Advisory Program

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) offers one-on-one support services to Indigenous tourism businesses. Indigenous Business Advisors (IBA) Program will assist Indigenous tourism businesses throughout the province to improve sustainability and resiliency and encourage success within their operations. The IBA Program uses a relationship-focused approach whereby businesses receive one-on-one support from industry leading Indigenous tourism professionals. This innovative program will be the first of its kind in Canada.


To learn more about ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisory Program, or to sign up, please contact
Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC)

The Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) is an Ontario-based independent, not-for-profit training, consulting and workforce development organization that delivers high quality, creative and branded solutions for the development and growth of a professional, skilled workforce. It is a leading source of support for community workforce capacity building and for helping companies attract, retain, and develop high performing employees and become Employers of Choice. OTEC is the premier source for Customer Service training and strategy development, Tourism Ambassador training and occupational certification, leadership skills training, and education products and services for tourism, hospitality and service oriented organizations in a wide range of industry sectors both nationally and internationally. 

Learn more about OTEC's Workforce Development, including Tourism SkillsNet Ontario, and Training Solutions for tourism-oriented businesses on their website.

Research and Development

Adventure Tourism Market: Global Industry Trends

A new report has been released from Research and Markets. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The global adventure tourism market reached a value of US$ 852.4 Billion in 2021. Looking forward, the publisher expects the market to reach US$ 2,548.2 Billion by 2027, exhibiting at a CAGR of 20.23% during 2022-2027.
  • The escalating demand for authentic and personalized traveling experience on account of rapid urbanization, improving disposable incomes, rising social media influence, and affordable air travel tickets represents one of the key factors bolstering the market growth.
  • The growing awareness about the adverse impact of conventional tourism, such as soil erosion, increasing pollution, and natural habitat loss, is shifting the preferences of travelers towards sustainable and adventure tourism.
  • The report provides an analysis of the key trends in each sub-segment of the global adventure tourism market, along with forecasts at the global, regional and country level from 2022-2027. The report has categorized the market based on type, activity, age group and sales channel.

Find out more Adventure Tourism Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2022-2027.

Destination Ontario - Research and Insights

Timely and relevant tourism research information is important to marketing strategy, partners and tourism businesses operating in today’s competitive travel market. Destination Ontario conducts primary, proprietary tourism-related research and has access to third-party research. It is our goal to provide reports with actionable insights that enable the industry to market their products more effectively.

Destination Ontario's corporate website includes research and insights related to segmentation, visitor spending in Ontario, performance and market trends based on border crossing statistics, and monthly consumer sentiment and economic modelling studies.

Other Updates

Safe Travels Stamp Administered by TIAO

TIAO has been chosen by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to administer the Safe Travels Stamp in Canada. The Safe Travels Stamp is an international symbol designed to allow travellers to recognize governments and companies around the world, which have adopted health and hygiene standardized protocols  – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

Apply for the Safe Travels Stamp on the TIAO website.