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Tourism Barrie Update

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Dear Tourism Industry Partners & Stakeholders,

In recent days you might have read or seen negative headlines about Tourism Barrie's financial situation and our request for top-up funding from the City of Barrie. We are writing to you to give you the true story and highlight the reasons behind the request for 100% of the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) and our ask to support the hardest-hit industry during this pandemic.

With a 90% reduction in MAT funding for the next 4 to 5 months, there will be limited support in the recovery efforts of our local community, since tourism is almost exclusively funded through a 4% hotel room tax. Tourism Barrie's ask to Council was for additional resources to aid in the recovery of the Barrie economy – funding for destination marketing.

As of 2019, tourism and destination marketing is funded through the hotel room tax based on how many people stay overnight in a Barrie Accommodation. Barrie's citizens do not pay for Tourism Barrie, the visitor that stays in a Barrie accommodation does.

Tourism Barrie acted swiftly and wrote to the City of Barrie when we saw industry forecasts that showed there would be a 90% decrease in hotel room stays from March into July and a slow recovery until 2021. We were quick to cut Tourism Barrie's operational and marketing hard costs, as did all of you.

The staff took pay cuts because we are committed to the organization and all of you. Tourism Barrie is committed to helping the tourism industry businesses through this crisis. Together we will get through this and back on our feet again.

Since writing to the City of Barrie for top-up funding, Tourism Barrie has applied for the Federal Government grants and subsidies to cover operational costs. Our applications have been successful. We have been able to stabilize the organization and bring back staff. Matt and Tina will continue developing digital videos, social media, and platforms that will integrate with the City of Barrie's Recovery Plans and messaging. We will be reaching out to help you with your digital marketing, campaigns, and services. We also were able to complete the 2020 Barrie Adventure Travel Guide, which can be found online here.

We are working on a recovery plan, so when you and the City are ready to start to open up and let visitors back into the region, we are here to stand beside you, create platforms and opportunities, and to promote we are open to visitors to #GetOut&Play .

Please find a link to the City of Barrie's COVID-19 Barrie Business Recovery Action Plan Framework and Consultation Process, whichwas passed by Council on May 4, 2020. Tourism Barrie is collaborating with the City of Barrie in recovery plans and consultations.

Tourism Barrie will continue to play a vital role in supporting the tourism industry businesses through our destination sales and marketing efforts. Our value lies in being on the front lines of the recovery, helping our local businesses and local economies come back as fast and as strong as possible.


Kathleen Trainor
Executive Director

Tourism Barrie has been at the forefront of the localized economic development for the community for over thirty-two years.

*In 2019:

484,729 people staying in a Barrie Hotel, which contributed to:
$141,567,785 million in direct visitor spending in the City of Barrie
$67,381,191 million in Direct GDP to the City of Barrie*

Direct GDP Impact on the following sectors:

  • $9.7 million Retail Trade
  • $11.9 million Food & Beverage Services
  • $13.3 million Accommodation Services
  • $5.9 million Entertainment, Arts, Recreation
  • $1.3 million Transportation Services

*The Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture TREIM Report May 7, 2020.

Tourism Jobs per Federal Ridings - Total 11,890**

  • Barrie- Springwater 5515
  • Barrie-Innisfil - 6375

TIAC- Destination Canada Visitor Intelligence


COVID-19 Barrie Business Recovery Plan - Framework and Consultation Process - READ HERE

The Economic Impact of City of Barrie 2019 Visitor Spend in Barrie - READ HERE

Bell Invest Barrie TD Canada Trust Barriston Law LLP Ontario Chamber of Commerce Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chamber Executives of Ontario