The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is looking for the sector to begin its full recovery this spring and summer, but acknowledges there are some ongoing concerns.
According to association president and chief executive officer Chris Bloore, upwards of 90% of tourism-related businesses were able to stay afloat throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but lack of staff continues to be an issue for the industry.
Staffing shortages has been a longstanding issue for the tourism sector, only exacerbated by the pandemic.
"Many of our businesses had been shut 24 hours after they were told they could re-open," Bloore told The Sam Laprade Show on Monday, May 9. "There's been real increased challenges for many of our businesses, whether that's asking for a proof of immunization or whether it's dealing with people who are frustrated and people who are upset by the situation we have been living in."
He adds one in 10 Canadian jobs are connected to the tourism sector, so it is vital for the industry's economic future to ensure there is a "conveyor belt" of potential employees.
"One of the things we're going to be concentrating on during the summer and into the fall and into next year, is really trying to change the image of the tourism industry, in terms of potential employees," Bloore explained.
On a positive note, Bloore said the Ontario's 'Staycation' tax credit has been beneficial for the tourism sector, and hopes to see the program extended.
Listen to the full interview with Chris Bloore on The Sam Laprade Show below: