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Association appeals to politicians to solve industry's crisis.

Association appeals to politicians to solve tourism industry's |crisis'

Hundreds of Ontario's tourism and hospitality businesses have been "brought to their knees" since 1985 by increases in municipal, business and payroll taxes, statutory wages and benefits and a myriad of new and costly social, labor and environmental legislation, says one industry official.

"These realities, combined with a precipitous decline in business and pleasure travel, spending and patronage in Ontario during the past 30 months, have created an economic crisis of massive proportions, resulting in permanent or indefinite layoffs and reduced available work opportunities for thousands of persons who depend on our industry for all of their livelihoods," says Roly Michener, a native of Copper Cliff, Ont. and president of Tourism Ontario Inc.

Tourism Ontario is a non-profit federation of hospitality and travel associations which acts as an advocacy body on behalf of its 7,000 members.

Last month it released a report which indicated that Ontarians have less after-tax income today than they did five years ago because of inflation and tax increases at the provincial and federal levels. The report was written with figures from the Conference Board of Canada.

"We (Tourism Ontario) wanted these facts to get out into the public domain because politicians are avoiding these realities, and it's hurting our industry," Michener explained.

He said governments can enhance the appeal of travelling and shopping in Ontario with a serious and concerted effort to rationalize non-productive spending, programs and bureaucracies.

Michener recommends that Ottawa permit the Canadian dollar to fall to a more realistic value of 75 to 80 cents U.S. and phase out Canada's agricultural marketing boards.

"They (the boards) should be phased out throughout Canada in favor of enriched tax incentives and other measures to ensure cost-efficient, productive and competitive farm practices."

Michener recommends that the federal and provincial governments reduce taxes on tobacco and alcohol products by as much as 20 per cent in order to increase sales and discourage the smuggling of these products from the U.S. He suggests that there be an additional 10-per-cent reduction in taxes on alcohol sold to licensed hospitality establishments.

Tourism Ontario recommends that all provincial revenue derived from vehicle permits, drivers' licence fees and taxes on gasoline, vehicle purchases and repairs be spent on repairing and improving Ontario's roads.

To combat cross-border shopping, Michener calls for the province to permit Sunday shopping.

"Most Ontarians cross-border shop for less than a day on weekends, with the largest volume of traffic on Sundays," he said.

In addition, Michener believes governments should co-ordinate a multi-media "Buy Canadian" campaign and emphasize the social and economic benefits of travelling in Canada and purchasing Canadian goods.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Tourism Ontario Inc.; Ontario's tourism and hospitality business
Author:McDougall, Douglas
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Aug 1, 1991
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