Innovative tourism experiences highlighted
OTTAWA, May 25, 2020 - As Tourism Week in Canada is observed this week, Ottawa Tourism notes the drastic change in the city’s third largest industry, after government and high technology. In a typical year, visitors to Ottawa spend more than $2.2 billion in the city but predictions for 2020 show a decrease of more than $1 billion in that spending.
“After healthcare, tourism was the first hit, hardest hit, and may be the last industry to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Michael Crockatt, the President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “More than 43,000 of our friends and neighbours were employed in the industry before the pandemic hit.”
Ottawa Tourism has spent the past several weeks advocating at all levels of government on behalf of the people whose livelihoods depend on tourism and tourism businesses. This includes participating in Ontario Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod’s Tourism Leaders Advisory Panel and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s Economic Partners Task Force. While federal, provincial, and municipal policies have provided relief, there are still gaps for small and seasonal businesses and the bans on large gatherings (festivals, sport tournaments, conferences and events) will continue to have a huge impact on the industry for the foreseeable future.
Ottawa Tourism paused its marketing activities in March 2020 but continues to collect stories of resiliency in the community. Compiled under the Ottawa’s Resilient Tourism Community banner, the page details virtual tours, food delivery options, online events, and other programming accessible for residents and visitors—all examples of how Ottawa’s tourism businesses have adapted to remain positive contributors to our quality of life.
Ottawa Tourism commends the ingenuity of the local tourism community, especially as we mark Tourism Week in Canada, including these examples:
- Rural attraction Saunders Farm offers physically distant campfire nights, complete with s’mores, hot dogs, and pop for families or a bottle of wine, charcuterie board, and s’mores for couples.
- National museums offer virtual tours and online experiences, including the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Virtual Visits series.
- The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival (which was originally due to take place June 18-21, 2020) will instead move to online programming June 1-30, 2020 in celebration of National Indigenous History Month.
- C’est Bon Cooking, which usually offers culinary walking tours of Ottawa neighbourhoods and in-person cooking classes, now offers virtual classes, either privately or in a group.
- Brew Donkey, which usually offers tours of local craft breweries in and around Ottawa, launched a fun new Virtual Beer Hall where people can gather online in small groups within a larger call. They’ve also launched a directory of local craft breweries with information about pickup and delivery.
- Ottawa’s newest (virtual) museum has been created by a recent Carleton University graduate named Kit Chokly. The Isolation Museum encourages people from around the world to submit virtual artifacts detailing life during the pandemic.
Ottawa Tourism’s team is currently finalizing marketing plans that will be deployed when restrictions are lifted and when protocols have been developed to create a system that is safe for visitors, workers, and residents.
About Tourism Week
Tourism Week in Canada is a grassroots initiative that brings attention to the economic opportunity available to Canada through travel and tourism and the public policy challenges preventing the sector from capitalizing on those opportunities. Tourism Week in Canada aligns tourism organizations, businesses and other partners from across the country around a common vision: a tourism sector unencumbered by government policies and recognized for its contribution to the Canadian economy.
About Ottawa Tourism
Ottawa Tourism provides destination development and marketing, strategic direction, and leadership in cooperation with its members and partners, welcoming leisure travellers, business travellers, group tours, and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its goal is to support the local tourism economy, fueled by an estimated 11 million visitors annually in recent years and with $3 billion in typical economic output for Ottawa, generating community wealth through tourism. Ottawa Tourism’s vision is to offer the complete capital experience, tell the story of Canada, and get people talking.
For more information, please contact:
Corporate Communications Specialist, Ottawa Tourism