The tourism sector is an important economic engine across Quebec's regions, offering good jobs from the Outaouais to Gaspésie by way of the Saguenay. It is also one of the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19, and the impacts stand to last for several months. Many health measures, including restrictions such as the closing of borders and some regions, have led to major consequences and much uncertainty in the tourism industry. While Quebec's regions are beginning to reopen their regional economies, businesses in this sector need support to prepare to relaunch their activities and to promote their destinations. In particular, they will have to deploy adaptation measures to comply with new health standards to welcome visitors in complete safety. The Government of Canada recognizes these impacts and is working with community stakeholders to find solutions for a strong recovery when the economy reopens. Working with the tourism sector to kickstart activities On June 23, the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, accompanied by Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), announced financial assistance totalling over $30M for tourism, in addition to existing measures. She also took the opportunity to announce that the Government of Canada is working with sector stakeholders to adapt its support to the new reality. Out of this $30M, the Alliance de l'industrie touristique du Québec (Alliance) will be able to count on $13.5M in assistance to provide financial support to Quebec's tourism SMEs, enabling them to implement adaptation measures in line with new health standards and targeted promotional campaigns. Through this project, the Alliance will grant non-repayable contributions to tourism SMEs mainly in the accommodation, attractions and tourism services sectors. This support will enable tourism SMEs to fund leasehold improvements to their infrastructure and the purchase of protective equipment to meet public health rules. CED has been able to count on the collaboration of regional tourism associations (ATRs), sectoral tourism associations (ATSs), Sociétés d'aide au développement des collectivités (SADCs) and Centres d'aide aux entreprises (CAEs) to support Quebec's tourism businesses and organizations. New financial measures and assistance totalling over $16.5M will help businesses and attractions to improve their facilities and develop their tourism experience. These investments complement measures in Canada's Economic Response Plan, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, to which tourism businesses and organizations have access to face the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this support, the Government of Canada is giving tourism businesses and attractions the means to develop their facilities so they are ready to welcome clients safely when the time comes. It is also ensuring the return of good well-paid jobs in Quebec's communities, in addition to enabling visitors to discover or rediscover Quebec's attractions and to experience tourism as activities gradually resume. "The tourism sector and the 1.8 million people it employs across Canada have been hit hard by the slowdown caused by COVID-19, and we are here for you. We are working with businesses so they are ready to reopen and to help Canadian tourism to flourish once again. Our message to the sector is clear: we are here for you now with immediate measures, we are here for you as our economy reopens, and we will come through this together," stated The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED. — Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions —AB

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