The provincial government eliminated $17.5 million in tourism promotion assistance as part of its restraint plan to reduce this year’s provincial budget deficit. The decision will have an indirect impact on Tourisme Prescott-Russell Tourism (TPRT), the regional agency that works with and assists local tourism operators and festival organizers with promoting their events and attractions, but agency officials are not worried at present.
“We’re ready for summer,” said Mariève Desmarais, TPRT co-executive director, during a May 13 interview. “It (provincial cut) doesn’t affect us this year, as we planned ahead.”
Desmarais noted that the provincial funding cut to tourism promotion may have an indirect impact through the partnership arrangement that TPRT had with Ottawa Tourism for promotion of special events outside of the Greater Ottawa Area. Ottawa Tourism lost $3.4 million in provincial support fund, which represents 15 per cent of its original budget plan for 2019.
Ottawa Tourism officials reported to regional media that they may need to refocus the agency’s tourism promotion strategy and give priority to tourist attractions and events within the city which receive municipal government funding support. Events and attractions outside of Ottawa may receive limited or no tourism promotion aid.
Desmarais noted that TPRT’s tourism promotion strategy is secure for this year up to and including the end of the summer season in August. TPRT staff are reviewing the agency’s action plan now to determine how to adjust its strategy for next year if the provincial cut continues on tourism promotion support.