Niagara Tourism Relief Fund Open for Applications

Niagara Tourism Relief Fund Open for Applications

Niagara Tourism Relief Fund

The Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) supports tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth. With a national budget of $500 million over two years, including $50 million dedicated to Indigenous tourism initiatives, this fund will help position Canada as a destination of choice as domestic and international travel rebounds by:

  • empowering tourism operators to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors.
  • helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors by offering the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world.

Who can apply?

Applicants must fall under one of the following parameters to be eligible for funding:

  1. A key supplier/operator in the visitor experienceA key supplier/operator in the visitor experience is one that provides the infrastructure and services necessary to support a tourism economy, connects tourism products to potential markets, leads planning for sustainable destination development and supports capacity building/skill development in the sector.
  2. Part of the Niagara tourism cluster or Niagara tourism-dependent regionThe Niagara tourism cluster is a geographic concentration of businesses and organizations involved in tourism, linked by common and complementary products and services that are tailored to the visitor economy and supported by a network of services and associated institutions. The Niagara tourism cluster can include, but is not limited to the Niagara community or region that is dependent on tourism for economic activity or is transitioning towards a more tourism-focused local economy.
  3. An anchor product or service in a destinationAn anchor product or service in a destination is defined as a key asset that serves as a motivator of travel to the region. It is the activity or product that provides the catalyst for the visitor to visit the destination. Anchor products may be operated by for-profit or not-for-profit organizations.

NOTE: Eligible applicants may fit under more than one of these categories and will have the opportunity to select all and explain how in the Application for Funding.

Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants must be part of the tourism ecosystem and will include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors. Eligible applicants include:

  • incorporated businesses, primarily small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • not-for-profit incorporated organizations (including tourism associations and destination marketing organizations)
  • co-operatives (for-profit and not-for-profit)
  • municipalities, Municipal Development Corporations, and related entities
  • post-secondary institutions
  • Indigenous/First Nations/Métis Settlement owned businesses or organizations, an Indigenous organization such as Indigenous-led not-for-profits and organizations which include but are not limited to First Nations as represented by their Chief and Council, Tribal Councils, Indigenous Representative Organizations, Métis and Inuit organizations and Settlements. For Indigenous applications please visit:

Ineligible applicants

Businesses that are in the following industries are normally not eligible under this initiative:


retail sector

hotel chains

Eligible activities

Eligible projects will fall under one of two themes:

  1. Product development/development and enhancement of tourism experiences to help tourism businesses adapt to the ”new normal”, to modernize tourism offerings and to help the sector adopt more environmentally sustainable practices.

Examples of project activities may include the following:

    • creating, adapting, and enhancing protocols and permanent infrastructure to meet health and safety requirements to accommodate visitors and employees to keep businesses operating.
    • helping operators traditionally reliant on international markets, such as those in downtown cores, to create innovative tourism offerings attractive to local and domestic visitors.
    • modernizing operations, attractions, greening initiatives, and online sales services.
    • supporting businesses with the local promotion of tourism products, including digital and virtual reality experiences.
    • developing capacity for more inclusive tourism experiences (e.g., staff training to ensure welcoming, inclusive environments to diverse clientele, gender-neutral washroom facilities, etc.).
  1. Destination development: projects that would position communities to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities through strategic planning for medium- to long-term investments, as well as supporting destination development, in-line with objectives set out in the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy and the Niagara Tourism Growth Strategy.

Examples of project activities may include the following:

    • providing support to local communities to develop sustainable tourism plans based on research and market analysis, and designed to rebuild tourism confidence in communities.
    • supporting seasonal dispersion by equipping tourism SMEs to extend their product offering to increase visitation during the winter and shoulder seasons.
    • supporting destinations to implement tourism plans that create or improve local assets, facilities, and planning for key infrastructure.
    • supporting the development and implementation of tourism economic development recovery plans that consider possible key market reactions when travel can safely resume.
    • enhancing tourism services and experiences, including market readiness designed to help communities and SMEs develop experiential tourism, that will respond to visitor expectations post COVID-19.
    • assisting industry partners to support recovery and rebuilding efforts through coordination, and developing new offerings and/or capacity building on behalf of the sector.
    • implementing strategies to re-activate and animate downtown cores, main streets and business districts through activities, public art, and mixed use spaces.
    • supporting scale-up and market expansion activities for key enterprises essential to economic vitality and the local business climate.


Priority consideration will be given to projects that:

  • support the Indigenous tourism sector
  • are led by a business/organization of strategic importance to the tourism sector in the region
  • contribute to the economic development of a region
  • contribute to job creation in the region
  • takes place in a tourism-dependent community/region, including projects supporting downtown cores

Funding available

For-profit businesses, contributions to businesses will consist of:

  • non-repayable contributions under $100,000 (rate of assistance of 50 % of eligible costs); or

For not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous entities (not generating profits), contributions will normally be non‑repayable:

  • project contribution amounts would not normally exceed $100,000;
  • the actual contribution amount will be based on the minimum amount required to carry out the project.

Recipients would not normally receive funding for more than one project. The maximum project size for RTOs/ITO is $100,000 for both for-profit and NFP applicants.

Eligible Project Start/End Dates

Project Start Date: project expenses incurred no earlier than April 19, 2021.

Project Completion Date: project must be completed by December 31, 2022.

How to Apply to COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund Guide

Download Niagara Tourism Relief Fund Application

Tourism Partnership of Niagara
Contact Info


[email protected]

The Tourism Partnership of Niagara (TPN) is a non-profit industry led organization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS). We are one of thirteen Regional Tourism Organizations in the Province of Ontario (RTO2).

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