Come Wander

The priority application intake period deadline of May 15th, 2022 has now passed.

On April 6, it was announced that Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization received a non-repayable contribution of $3 million from the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), to deliver the Tourism Relief Fund to tourism businesses in the Ontario’s Highlands region.

The  Regional Tourism Relief Fund – Ontario’s Highlands (RTRF-Ontario’s Highlands) is an application-based program that will help facilitate the recovery and long-term growth of the tourism economy within the region, supporting tourism stakeholder investment into experience development, experience enhancement and destination development programs.

Eligible applicants and projects successfully awarded will be funded based on non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 for up to 50% of eligible costs for for-profit incorporated businesses and up to 100% of eligible costs for not-for-profit incorporated organizations.   

The fund is open to incorporated businesses, not-for-profit incorporated organizations, municipalities, and Indigenous, First Nation, Metis and Inuit owned businesses, communities, and organizations within the geographic boundaries of Ontario’s Highlands.  If your incorporated business or organization offers a tourism experience and you are seeking support for an eligible project within Haliburton County, Hastings County, Lennox and Addington County, Frontenac County, Renfrew County and Lanark County we encourage you to apply.   

Click here if you are interested in applying to this program but fall outside the geographic boundaries of Ontario’s Highlands. 

We are grateful to be working in partnership with Indigenous Tourism Ontario to further support Indigenous businesses and organizations. If your business or organization is 51% or more Indigenous-owned and controlled, please visit ITO’s Tourism Relief Fund webpage to apply and access additional program support. As the recognized voice for Indigenous tourism in Ontario, ITO’s program is customized to the needs of Indigenous communities, organizations and businesses.  For questions, contact [email protected] 

OBJECTIVES

The tourism industry has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Not only has our sector experienced losses in terms of tourism revenues but many have had to and will continue to incur additional costs to modify their operations in order to safely serve visitors. In addition, our communities have seen a significant shift in the impact that tourism has on its residents and infrastructure that now requires strategic sustainable planning for the future.  The program will:

  • empower tourism operators to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local, domestic and international visitors;
  • expand and develop the region’s authentic attractions;
  • enable tourism operators to strategically adapt products and service to adjust to changing public health requirements.

The RTRF-Ontario’s Highlands program will support eligible projects that align with the program objectives and take place between April 19, 2021 and December 31, 2022. All projects must be completed by, and all project expenses incurred no later than, December 31, 2022.

APPLYING

Applicants are encouraged to review the program eligibility guidelines and review the comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Regional Tourism Relief Fund – Ontario’s Highlands program.  In the event your questions is not captured in the FAQ please submit your question to [email protected] .

Applications will be accepted through our application portal April 13, 2022 – May 15, 2022.  Applications will continue to be accepted following this intake period, but are not guaranteed to be assessed.

Get inspired to apply by reading some project ideas here.

Watch the recording and view the deck and follow-up answers from the virtual Q & A Regional Tourism Relief Fund held on Friday April 22nd.