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  • OCC Report: The State of the Ontario Tourism Industry

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce releases The State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report Featuring Saultites Gary and Joanie McGuffin

    For Immediate Release
    Thursday, December 14, 2022

    Sault Ste. Marie – While domestic and inbound tourism improved in the latter half of 2022, the industry is not expected to fully recover from the pandemic until 2025 – a situation that looks grimmer as a recession approaches, cost of living goes up, and consumer spending behaviour shifts. Ontario’s tourism sector is calling for a comprehensive strategy to address ongoing impacts of COVID-19 border closures, capacity restrictions, and structural issues.

    In need of a path forward, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released The State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report, offering a blueprint to support the industry’s recovery and growth.

    “The holidays are a perfect time for family and friends to discover adventures in Ontario. However, consumers are pinching their wallets as cost-of-living skyrockets, and a recession looms large – weakening the recovery trajectory for Ontario’s tourism industry,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, OCC. “We need a comprehensive strategy to safeguard the ailing sector and support its sustainable recovery.”

    “Ontario can and should be at the top of every tourist’s bucket list. Representing $36 billion of Ontario’s GDP, tourism is a vital sector in the provincial economy and is critical for our economic recovery,” said Christopher Bloore, President and CEO, TIAO. “A provincial strategy must address workforce development strategies, regulatory burdens, infrastructure deficits, and regional disparities.” 

    Key recommendations from the report include:
    • Focus workforce development strategies on making the case for careers in the tourism industry, reforming immigration to help alleviate regional and sector disparities and optimizing work placement opportunities for post-secondary students.
    • Tap into underexplored markets from Indigenous and Francophone tourism sectors and emerging industries, such as cannabis.
    • Eliminate barriers to growth by revisiting taxes for the industry, such as the annual basic beer tax increase, federal excise taxes and municipal accommodation taxes.
    • Address major infrastructure gaps from public transportation and roads to housing and broadband.
    The recommendations of the State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report underpin both organizations’ advocacy efforts as they work to rebuild and grow Ontario’s tourism industry to ensure that it remains a world-class destination.

    Members of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce may recognize that the cover of this OCC/TIAO report features Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame recipients, Gary and Joanie McGuffin. Gary and Joanie are explorers, conservation photographers, authors, public speakers. Their most documented adventures have been about canoeing on waterways throughout North America, bicycling from the Arctic to the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans, backpacking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, circumnavigating Lake Superior by canoe and paddling across Northern Ontario in the footsteps of Grey Owl. The McGuffins are noted primarily for their popular paddle sports instructional books on canoeing and kayaking, and their documentary film based on their research about the Group of Seven artists.

    As well, the McGuffins have just released a beautiful new book, Algoma – Solemn Land – 60 beautiful Gary McGuffin photographs and the story of seven landscape painters that Gary took to Montreal River and ‘Solemn Land’ – which is being nominated for at least two provincial and national book awards. Algoma –Solemn Land is available for purchase here – a great gift for anyone who enjoys beautiful Algoma scenery. The 100% Sault produced publication was conceived, written, photographed, edited, designed, and printed by talented Sault professionals. The book is also a great lead in for something remarkable - Gary's 5-year, 15 city, North American 'Boreal Forest' photography exhibition being hosted by the Smithsonian Institute commencing in May 2023.

    Read the State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report .


    About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
    The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization comprised of 700 plus businesses and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community. Learn more about the SSMCOC at www.ssmcoc.com.

    About the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)
    The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is recognized by government as the voice of tourism. TIAO works on behalf of its membership, collectively representing 200,000 businesses and 400,000 employees. TIAO propels the powerful and innovative Ontario tourism industry by connecting tourism leaders, innovators, government, and educators through events and conferences. TIAO is proud to host the largest gathering of tourism leaders, educators, businesses, and government officials in Canada, at the annual Ontario Tourism Summit.

    About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
    For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.

    For more information:
    Rory Ring, CEO
    Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce

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