Provincial Budget to Support Ontario Resorts

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The recent 2009 Ontario Provincial Budget contains measures that support Ontario's tourism sector and Ontario resorts. This is good news for Haliburton and Muskoka resort regions where tourism is a major employer and vital to the local economy.

Ontario resorts anticipate a stronger season ahead. With a lower Canadian dollar, many recession-weary American tourists will once again be visiting Ontario resort areas, like Muskoka and Haliburton, where their dollar goes much further. In Ontario, tourism is big business. Its tourism sector contributes annually approximately $22 billion to the province's economy. To this end, Ontario's new budget includes strategies to strengthen and grow the province's tourism industry. "The measures that support Ontario's tourism industry included in the 2009 Ontario budget, demonstrate the government's commitment to tourism and their acknowledgement of how crucial tourism is to job creation, economic growth, and its long term potential," states Krista Havenaar of Resorts Muskoka (http://www.resortsmuskoka.com), operator of several fine Muskoka and Haliburton resort properties.

Delivering on some of the recommendations outlined in the recently published Tourism Competitiveness Study, the 2009 Ontario budget proposes measures that will assist both the government and tourist industry to become more competitive. If the Budget is passed, one of the recommendations of the Competitiveness Study that would be put into action is a substantial investment in new funding to enhance Ontario's tourism attractions. Over a three year period, $41 million will be spent on revitalization projects and infrastructure improvements to tourist attractions, such as parks and historic sites. Over a two year period the Ontario government will also invest $32.5 billion in other types of infrastructure that would benefit the tourism sector. This would include $273 million for transportation improvements for roads and bridges in Northern and rural Ontario and $219 million for new highway projects in Southern Ontario.

Another proposal contained in the McGuinty government's new budget that would directly benefit the province's tourism sector is a planned $4.5 billion in tax relief for small businesses. Small business is the backbone of Ontario tourism. As well, there is a proposed increase in spending on summer employment opportunities for youth which will greatly benefit tourist sector businesses. Summer students make up a large part of the labour supply servicing the seasonal tourism sector and Ontario resort industry.

In addition, the proposed single, value-added sales tax is estimated to save businesses more than $500 million a year in paperwork costs and greatly reduce the tax burden on business investment by providing input tax credits. The estimated net revenue generated from the proposed three per cent increase in RST rate collected on hotel and resort accommodations would come to approximately $40 million. This would be used for additional tourism marketing as a further investment in the tourist industry.

"More investment in Ontario tourism advertising is crucial to the growth and the success of our industry," declares Havenaar. "Ontario has a wonderful tourism product. It is up to the government to help get the word out to the rest of the world and improve Ontario's competitiveness as a tourism destination. If the 2009 budget is passed, perhaps we can get things rolling. Ontario needs to market more in the United States and Europe so that this huge market of potential visitors to the province can learn about all we have to offer. With its magnificent scenery and many fine resorts, Ontario makes a wonderful vacation destination and our low Canadian dollar just sweetens the deal," adds Havenaar.

About Resorts of Muskoka: Offering a wide selection of accommodation styles and resort amenities, Resorts Muskoka represents some of the finest Ontario resort properties, including Inn At The Falls, The Muskokan, Trillium Resort & Spa, and Wigamog Inn Resort. Surrounded by lakes, woodlands and breathtaking views, our Muskoka inns and resorts are perfect for any occasions, from family vacations to romantic getaways to business functions and weddings. Visit (http://www.resortsmuskoka.com) to learn more about Resorts Muskoka.

Contact Information:
Krista Havenaar
Resorts Muskoka
3876 Hwy 118 West
Port Carling, ON    P0B 1J0
1-866-960-9016
416-960-9016
http://www.resortsmuskoka.com

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