National Tourism Week with ITO

May 23 – 30, 2021 is National Tourism Week in Canada. Held on an annual basis to elevate Canada’s tourism industry, #TourismWeek highlights the value of the tourism sector to Canada’s economy. To mark national tourism week, consider rallying around the following key messages:  

  • Tourism improves the quality of life for all Canadians.
  • Canadians are key to supporting the recovery of the tourism sector and we’re looking forward to welcoming you back when restrictions lift.   
  • Canadian tourism businesses are ready to go (as restrictions allow). Canadians can feel confident in making travel plans as tourism businesses throughout Canada have made huge investments in new hygiene protocols. The health and wellbeing of tourism employees and guests is paramount

Celebrate the tourism economy and the impact it has across the country with ITO this #TourismWeek by sharing a photo of your favourite Indigenous experience or an Indigenous experience that you want to explore. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #tourismweek #indigenoustourism and tag @indigenoustourismontario in your post!

The Heartbeat of Canada
From baristas and brewers to designers and festival directors to historians and hotel owners, the richness of our diversity—and the heartbeat of this country—can all be found in Canada’s tourism industry.  This tourism week, Destination Canada’s “industry anthem” celebrates the makers, performers, business owners, and staff who make up Canada’s tourism sector. 

Connecting Canadians!
As part of #TourismWeek, Destination Canada is helping Canadians reconnect with the family and friends they’ve missed during the pandemic through a fun and exciting postcard campaign! Destination Canada has created a series of postcards inspired by some of Canada’s great destinations in French and English, which can be printed and mailed to your loved ones across Canada. This initiative creates an opportunity for shared experiences, encouraging Canadians to explore and enjoy travel in Canada, when restrictions lift.  
Take the Pledge
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), is inviting all Canadians to rally around a call for Canadians to spend their leisure travel budgets on domestic holidays. We encourage you to take the pledge, and when you are able, plan and travel in Canada this year!
here to download the 2021 Tourism Pledge and join ITO in carrying out a key part of the mission for this year’s #TourismWeek by emphasizing the role that tourism plays in Canada’s economic growth with the 2021 Tourism Pledge!


Ontario Tourism & Travel Small Business Support Grant
The Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant portal is now open for applications. The grant provides one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in the tourism and travel sector. $100 million will be flowing directly to tourism businesses that have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This important investment will not only secure jobs and businesses in the tourism industry, but also ensure that the tourism industry is best placed to lead economic resurgence in Ontario.

This grant will support eligible small tourism and travel businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG). To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020. Small business owners can use the grant in whatever way makes the most sense for their business. Applications for this grant will close on June 25th, 2021. 

If you require assistance with the application process, ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisors (IBA) are here to help Indigenous tourism operators identify eligibility, access and navigate financial resources and utilize business planning tools. For immediate support, please fill out the 
5 minute online application to join the IBA Program and access these services free of charge.
Do you have feedback about the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant? The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) wants to hear from you about whether you have applied for the grant, found yourself ineligible or learn of any other reasons why you’ve not been able to apply for the grant. This will help TIAO advise government and work to ensure this much needed funding gets to the businesses it was intended to support.  Fill out the survey here.
Indigenous Business Advisory Program
Last day to join the program is May 31st, 2021.
Tailored to each business’ identified needs, ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisors (IBAs) are here to extend their paddles, work with operators one-on-one to navigate these unfamiliar waters and access necessary resources to survive. IBAs will serve as a single point of contact to help Indigenous tourism operators access financial resources, business planning tools, training and skills programs, marketing opportunities and more. Learn more about the IBA program details including eligibility and supports here.


3 DAYS TO GO to Apply for the Skode Program
ITO and the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab have partnered to launch the Skode Program, an initiative to spark new Indigenous tourism ideas and experiences that authentically represent, celebrate and promote Indigenous culture, heritage, language, cuisine and communities in Ontario. The program matches selected applicants with a mentor and provides a $5,000 non-repayable contribution to help take new tourism ideas to the next level of development.

How to apply
  1. Prepare a 1,000 word maximum document with responses to the application questions found here
  2. Film a 1 minute maximum unedited, unproduced video introducing yourself, your business, and your new tourism idea.
  3. Submit your application to info@tourisminnovation.ca and include “Skode” in the subject line. IMPORTANT: Both the 1,000 word maximum document and 1 minute maximum video are required for a complete application submission. Incomplete applications or applications that are above the maximum word/time limits will not be reviewed. Applications are open until May 28 at 11:59pm. 
Did you miss the Skode info session? Watch the 14 minute recording now! Still have questions? Email Jasmine Burj, Director of Member Relations at ITO: jburji@indigenoustourismontario.ca  or Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead at Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab: info@tourisminnovation.ca.


Fire Masters
Three chefs hit the grills running in the Wildfire Round. In this episode of Fire Masters, Wikwemikong Chef and Indigenous Culinary of the Associated Nations (ICANs) Board Chair, Joseph Shawana, finesses with a colourful game dish. It’s a BBQ brawl between fast and slow cooking in the Crossfire Round. The judges take a trip to the Bayou in the Feast of Fire Round.

      Indigenous Tourism Ontario
      1300 Hwy 540
      4 directions Complex Unit 4
      Aundeck Omni Kaning, Ontario

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