Resort operators and lodge owners are definitely hurting, as the American border remains closed. Kenora MP Eric Melillo says the federal government needs to provide the tourism industry with more help.
"I wish I had a better update for you. It's something we've been fighting for for quite some time. The government has failed to provide any kind of support to our operators," he said.
While Ottawa has offered wage subsidies and loans to outfitters, owners don't see this as helpful, since there isn't enough revenue to support loan payments or the hiring of staff. About 40 per cent of resort owners aren't expected to open this year, as the business from within Canada won't be enough to cover expenses.
The MP notes the situation comes as the federal government released an economic update -- or snapshot -- which said the annual deficit was expected to grow from $34 billion to more than $340 billion, as the country looked to weather the pandemic.
Last week, outfitters started a petition and it has more than 5,300 signatures on it. More than 200 resort owners estimate they generate more than $450 million from American visitors during the tourism season. However, there are no plans to reopen the international border anytime soon, and a lost season will mean some owners would go about 20 months between revenue, if they have to wait until next summer.
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