Federal government launches Tourism Relief Fund to help tourism businesses and organizations recover and grow

News release

Canadian tourism businesses and organizations can now apply for support to welcome back visitors

July 12, 2021 – Hillier, Ontario

In March 2020, tourism came to a screeching halt as public safety measures kept most Canadians home and international borders closed. Now that vaccination efforts are paying off and declining case rates are allowing the easing of restrictions, tourism businesses and organizations from coast to coast to coast can look to the future.  

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has provided over $15.4 billion in direct supports to the tourism sector. Budget 2021 committed an additional $1 billion to help the tourism sector prepare to welcome domestic travelers and reposition Canada as a world-class destination. Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, launched $500-million in funding for the new Tourism Relief Fund. Eligible organizations can now submit applications to support the tourism sector prepare to welcome back domestic travelers and reposition Canada as a world-class destination.  

Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) will deliver $485 million directly to businesses and organizations to help them adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth. As long-standing on the ground support to economic development and community growth, the RDAs are well positioned to deliver fast and efficient support to the tourism sector.

Indigenous communities that rely heavily on tourism have also been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In order to close this gap, the Government of Canada is investing a minimum of $50 million of the Tourism Relief Fund in Indigenous tourism projects.

In addition, $15 million, delivered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, will support destination development, seasonal and local attractions, and human resources and skills development.

By enabling tourism businesses and organizations to prepare for recovery through the development of new and enhanced products and offerings, the Government of Canada is driving economic growth and job creation from coast to coast to coast. The Tourism Relief Fund, part of the $1 billion in tourism supports announced in Budget 2021, will help tourism businesses bounce back, while making Canada a unique premier destination when it is safe for international visitors to return.


“Our government has been there for the tourism sector since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and today’s announcement is about adding another tool to the suite of COVID supports that will help it recover and prepare for future growth and create jobs. This is an important step in our recovery efforts to attract visitors from all over the world so they can discover our country’s extraordinary wild natural beauty, delicious food and rich cultural experiences and incredibly warm hospitality once it is safe to do so.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

“Today’s announcement is meaningful for the tourism sector here in southeastern Ontario, and across the country. With the launch of the Tourism Relief Fund, we are providing support for businesses, organizations and tourism entities across Canada to adapt operations and also create new offerings and experiences for future visitors to enjoy.”
- Neil Ellis, Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte

“The Indigenous tourism industry supports the overall Indigenous economy and creates jobs, supports families, and allows travelers to experience the vibrant and diverse communities and cultures of Indigenous Peoples. The Tourism Relief Fund will provide needed support to Indigenous tourism businesses all across the country in order for the industry to turn the page from crisis to recovery and build back better.”
- Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • More information on the Tourism Relief Fund, including how eligible applicants can apply is available through Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs).

  • Tourism is a key contributor to Canada’s economy. According to Statistics Canada, the tourism sector generated an estimated $104.4 billion in revenues in 2019, supported approximately 1 in 10 jobs in communities across Canada and contributed an estimated $45.1 billion in gross domestic product.

  • Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous tourism supported over 41,000 jobs and accounted for $2 billion of Canada’s GDP.

  • To help manage the severe impact of COVID-19 on the sector, tourism-related businesses and not-for-profit organizations have received $15.4 billion in support for tourism, arts, and culture sectors to pay workers, provide rent and mortgage support, as well as providing liquidity support for small businesses.

Associated links


Floriane Bonneville
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Media Relations
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

Kim Fewchuck
Communications Advisor

Media Relations
Western Economic Diversification Canada

Barbara Abramchuk
Communications Advisor
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

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