The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) announced that it is partnering with the federal government to launch a funding program for tourism operators affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism operators can now apply for a portion of the one-time $1.5 million Growth and Recovery by Investing in Tourism fund. The cost of the fund is being evenly split by the GNWT and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor).

“Given the challenges our economy is facing, we are pleased to provide this specific funding to benefit the NWT tourism industry,” stated ITI Minister Katrina Nokleby in a Wednesday news release. “Our tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit by Covid-19 and it is imperative that we continue support it through the pandemic and into recovery.”

In preparation for when border restrictions ease and tourism resumes, the fund will address “COVID-19 impacts on tourism businesses by encouraging product development and marketing as well as contributing to select operational costs.”

Each operator can apply to any of the three funding streams, including up to $75,000 for new product development and innovation, up to $10,000 for marketing and promotion and up to $5,000 for operations and maintenance costs.

Eligible businesses include those that rely on travellers for a significant portion of their income and could supply tourism services, tourism activities, accommodations, restaurants and entertainment, for example.

Applications are available available at local ITI regional offices. Tourism businesses will be required to contribute 10 per cent cash equity and use NWT suppliers to stimulate the local economy and all projects must be complete by March 31 of next year.

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