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Tourist outfitters and camps in northwestern Ontario rally on Saturday

Jun 13, 2020 09:30AM ● By Editor
Photo: Gord Ellis/CBC

By CBC News · June 12, 2020 

Outfitters, guides and other people employed or connected to the outdoor tourism industry plan to hold a rally Saturday in Vermilion Bay.

The industry in the northwest is almost completely based on visitors from the United States, and has been decimated by the fall out from COVID -19.

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunset Country Adventures, and is one of the organizers of the rally.

He said the tourism industry is holding the rally to generate support for a relief package that would get them through to next season.

"We're just looking for some help from the government," he said. "I mean they've bailed out a ton of  industries that are still running that aren't even affected. And you know, if we don't get help we're not going to be here next year. There's gonna be a thousand keys laying on a table that belong to lodge owners."

Smith said the economy of most communities in the northwest rely on the injection of American money each summer and the entire season is now in jeopardy. He said with the border now expected to be closed until the end of July, many operators have lost 10 weeks of their 16-week season.

But he said they are not trying to press the government about the closed border .

"We're not pushing that issue because you know it's an entire country that has a say on that border, and two countries really," Smith said. "And you know, it's not the most popular idea right now and we're not pushing to open the border. We're just looking for some kind of meaningful assistance so that when the border does open we still all exist next year and we draw those crowds."

Smith said they expect between 250 and 300 people from tourist related businesses in the northwest to take part at the rally at the Fort Vermilion site, located along the Trans-Canada highway. He said they have plenty of room and will be practicing physical distancing.

 The Tourism Matters NWO rally will take place Saturday, June 13, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Central time

To read the original story and read related reporting, follow this link to the CBC News website.

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