Janice Thomson hopes August will be the turnaround month for Niagara’s tourism industry.
As Statistics Canada takes its regular mid-month measure of the local employment scene, Niagara will have been about four weeks into its Stage 3 economic recovery.
Full-service restaurants, albeit with limited seating. More tourists visiting as temperatures have soared day after day.
And hopefully, more people returning to work.
Last time StatsCan collected its data was mid-July, just as Niagara was easing into Stage 3. That report, released last week, showed 12.3 per cent unemployment region-wide.
When August stats are released, hopes Thomson, president of Niagara Falls Tourism, the picture will be brighter and show more people employed.
“I would anticipate that you would see an improvement certainly (in August), based on the fact business has gone up,” she said.
Last week’s StatsCan report demonstrated again how devastating COVID-19 has been to Niagara’s tourism industry.
It showed that in July only 14,800 people were employed in the accommodations and food services industry across Niagara.
On the downside, that was 10,000 fewer than in July 2019. On the upside, it was 1,700 more than in June. Meanwhile, the U.S.-Canada border remains closed.
“We know how many people work in tourism in this area, and we know what the draconian impact was initially when people had to be laid off,” Thomson said.
“It didn’t surprise me. It has to be a gradual return, based on business needs.”
Information from Niagara Region’s economic development department, meanwhile, shows the impact on Niagara’s hotel industry, especially Niagara Falls where 16,000 of the region’s 21,000 hotel rooms are located.
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