In response to COVID-19, the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA) has re-launched a Phase 2 program for the Health and Safety Business Requirement Expense Program. The programs application intake period will run for 2 weeks, starting Monday January 18th, concluding on Monday February 1st at 11:59pm. The Phase 2 Program has changed its criteria to allow for all accommodations to apply (including properties that are of a chained or franchised brand). In addition, those received funding for the Phase 1 program are not eligible to recieve additional funding due to our limited budget allocation. This program  will also be reviewed on a "First Come, First Served" basis. Qualified applicants will be notified by the Program Lead by Wednesday, February 13th 2021. 

If you have any questions regarding this program and the application process, please reach out to the Program Lead: Angelica Smith 

Click for the Application and Excel Breakdown Sheet. 

Consumer BehaviouR Travel INTENTION Study 

Wave 2. (Winter)

With the ever chaning landscape, the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association and 9 other Regional Tourism Organizations are working with Abacus Data to check in with travellers to understand travel preferences and intentions for the winter season. These results are to help give actionable insights needed to counsel tourism operators, and to continue to adjust their respective business recovery and communications strategies accordingly. 

The Wave 2 Survey results will inform partners on what has changed since the first study (June 2020), and what we can expect for the next season of travel. The focus of this wave includes:

  • Understanding shifting travel preferences and behaviour
  • Travel preferences and intentions for the winter season
  • Compare intention with action
  • Will focus on Ontario only survey sample

For the full Ontario Wide Report, click here, or to see the RTO 3 specific results click here

Wave 1. (Spring/Summer)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a historic and devastating impact on the Ontario tourism industry. We are happy to share with you the results from a Travel Intentions Survey the Regional Tourism Organizations of Ontario along with Destination Ontario and the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Cultural Industries funded. 

Overall, the COVID pandemic has many travellers worried about travel this summer, and most are hesitant to resume their pre-pandemic travel habits (when asked how they feel about travel, only 6% say they will jump back in). That said, there is still an interest in travel, and most will be choosing travel within Ontario. Within the next 3 months, 60% of Ontarians say they will be comfortable travelling in their region, and 50% are comfortable travelling to another region in the province. Those who previously chose international destinations (US or other) are also more likely to be choosing an Ontario destination. When making a decision about where to go, travellers will want to see clear communications about how the operator/destination is following COVID protocols, and how they can follow protocols as well (maintaining physical distancing, fewer interactions with others etc.).

For the full intention travel survey report, click here, for the presentation, click here or to see the RTO 3 specific results click here

HHBRTA 2020/21 Covid-19 Regional Tourism Recovery Program Initiative - Phase 1 CLOSED 

In response to COVID-19, the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA) has developed a time limited “Covid-19 Regional Tourism Recovery” Program to support tourism industry’s business re-emergence efforts. There are four (4) program opportunities to support the diverse businesses located in the region.

The program launched on Monday, November 16th and the application intake period ran for 2 weeks, concluding on Monday November 30th at 11:59pm. Each program highlighted below had limited budgets allocated; therefore; all applications were reviewed as a "First Come, First Served" basis. Qualified applicants were notified by Program Leads by Wednesday, December 16th 2020. 


1. Health and Safety Business Requirement Expense Program 

The Health and Safety Business Requirement Expense Program is designed to assist HHBRTA tourism industry operators with re-opening operations, while reducing the risk of the transmission of COVID-19 among workers and visitors. As we assist you in restoring safe services, HHBRTA has developed a program to help alleviate some costs for the purchase of approved health and safety expenses.

Eligible applicants can potentially be re-imbursed up to a maximum of $500.00 (pre-tax), and is retroactive to as early as April 1st, 2020. All receipt(s) are to be submitted with your application for full re-imbursement.  

If you have any questions regarding this program and the application process, please reach out to the Program Lead: Angelica Smith 

2. Consumer Confidence Video 

The Consumer Confidence Video Program is designed to support tourism business operators in their efforts to rebuild their business and be market-ready through the aid of a short engaging promotional video. The content of the video will be developed to provide assurance to consumers and employees of safety precautions the business is undertaking. It will also advertise the business operator’s unique product offering and positive guest experiences and will be used by HHBRTA in qualified seasonal marketing campaigns. 

If you have any questions regarding this program and the application process, please reach out to the Program Lead: Claire O'Brien

3. Visitor Experience Market Readiness Program 

This program is designed to assist tourism stakeholders by enhancing the market-readiness of your tourism product and/or services. Based on your tourism business sector, HHBRTA wants to support creativity, ingenuity and innovation to stimulate your tourism business and maintain your current customers and attract new audiences.

The scope of Visitor Experience Market-Readiness Program is broadened to ensure tourism businesses have access to funds that enable our industry to recover in an innovative and inspirational ways. HHBRTA is committed to ensuring your resilience through these times, as we continue to strengthen the economic value of tourism in our region.

If you have any questions regarding this program and the application process, please reach out to the Program Lead: Bev Scott

4. Destination Visual Content Program - Phase 1(Completed) + Phase 2 

In October 2020, HHBRTA completed Phase 1 of our Destination Visual Content Program.  After assessing our digital asset database and speaking with industry partners we realized we had many gaps and deficits within our digital database as well as found it difficult to market different experiences digitally with masks now being apart of our experiences reality. Through this program we are able to fill our digital content gap and support industry by providing new digital assets that can be used now and in the future. 

During Phase 1 of this program we were able to go all over the region and capture a wide variety of experiences at over 25 partner locations and areas which included: Georgetown, St. George, Acton, Brantford, Stoney Creek, Oakville, Ayr, and Milton. 

The digital assets for Phase 1 will be available late November to view and download for industry on our CrowdRiff Media Hub, here . We are exploring a Phase 2 of this project based on industry needs and demand. We plan to launch the second portion of the program in Spring 2021. If you are a tourism operator in need of new digital assets, please fill out the request for interest applicaton below. 

If you have any questions regarding this program and the application process, please reach out to the Program Lead: Brittany Hunter 

Our proritity continues to be to support local businesses in their Covid-19 safe efforts and in their ecomomic recovery. At the same time, we have our eyes to the future and we work on market readiness initiatives for post Covid-19. Lets keep working together. 

Please Note: Applying for any of these programs does not negate you from applying for additional Government Funding Opportunities. 



Ontario Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

Minister Lisa Macleod is holding tele-townhalls with tourism industry stakeholders from across the province. Please find links to the recordings of these townhalls below:

The provincial government has set up a series of panels to assist Minister Lisa MacLeod in meeting the unique challenges of COVID-19. Industry leaders have been asked to sit on the panels to feed in the latest data and expertise to assist the government in meeting the unique challenges of COVID-19 across different sectors. Each panel will gather information over a four week period and report recommendations back to Minister MacLeod. TIAO President and CEO Beth Potter will be sitting on the Hoteliers and Hospitality, Air Travel, Festival, Events and Local Community Attractions Panel and Tourism leaders panels. The scopes of the panels are listed below;

  1.      Ministry Attractions and Agencies Panel
  2.      Hoteliers & Hospitality Panel
  3.      Air Travel Panel
  4.      Music Panel
  5.      Film and Television Panel
  6.      Tourism Leaders Panel – RTO, DMO, TIAO
  7.      “BIG 8” Panel – largest 8  cultural attractions
  8.       Amateur Sport and Recreation Panel
  9.       Professional Sport Panel
  10.       Ontario Live Panel
  11.       Interactive Digital Media Panel
  12.       Multi Sectoral Panel – The Co-Chairs of all the other panels
  13.       Book and Magazine Publishing Panel
  14.       Festival, Events and Local Community Attractions Panel

Tourism Industry of Ontario (TIAO)

TIAO is the voice of tourism advocacy in Ontario. They are conducting province wide surveys of tourism businesses to measure the impact of COVID-19. Below you will find the results specific to the Region of Hamilton Halton and Brant. Check out there website for more information of other resources they are provided. 

Government of Ontario

Our government announced details of stage one of A Framework to Reopen Our Province, which will begin on May 19th, provided that public health metrics continue to trend in a positive direction.

Workplaces and services that may reopen in stage one are well-positioned to adopt workplace safety measures and get more people back to work, while not overburdening public transit and other services. A full detailed list of the workplaces permitted to reopen can be found below. You can read the whole plan for stage 1 by clicking here.



Based on the realities of today, support to tourism based businesses is vital and it is a priority to pivot our efforts to both engage locals to support their local businesses and to build “Destination Dreaming” efforts to build interest in our region for future visitation.  During a time when citizens are being asked to refrain from travel, it is important that our marketing messaging reflects that.  To help ensure that, we have developed a campaign for non-local audiences that will help keep our brand front and centre in a responsible way that is built around the tagline: “Worth the Wait”.   This tagline offers two meanings to potential visitors.  The first is that Hamilton Halton Brant’s tourism product is so awesome it is worth waiting for to be able to enjoy safely.  The second inference is that the safety of your family and the people you want to spend time with is worth the wait. 



In addition to our marketing efforts for non-local audiences, we have also developed a campaign theme for use in local markets built around the tagline:  “Show Some Local Love.”   Whether it is encouraging residents to order food from local restaurants and buy goods from local shops online or offering suggestions for virtual activities like museum tours and online classes, the Show Some Local Love campaign is all about offering easy, actionable steps that local residents can take to support their community’s economy.  Additionally, the RTO has allocated a portion of the interim marketing budget to be designated for direct marketing support of the DMOs/municipalities that have created website portals that have been developed to provide local residents with up-to-date information on local tourism businesses providing Covid-19 safe products and services to their respective local communities.  In addition to posting this on our leisure website and ongoing posting via our owned social media channels, we will be launching a five-week (May 1-May 31) paid social media campaign for each of our regional DMOs geographic catchment to support efforts.  Utilizing the umbrella “Show Some Local Love” interim brand positioning, each DMO specific campaign will be targeted geographically and will link Facebook and Instagram users directly through to their local DMO/Municipal “support local” website page.

We encourage you to use the “Show Some Local Love” digital wordmarks that we created during this time in your own Marketing tactics. For access to these wordmarks or if you have any questions please contact Brittany Hunter by e-mail, or by phone, 905 516-0135.



Our regional tourism industry partners are innovating their business in order to generate revenue during the Covid-19 social distancing time-frame and meet local needs. We feature these businesses, so that they are supported, but also inspire you to engage current customers and/or attract new customers. Click on a region below to see how they are supporting locally. 

Brantford      Burlington      County of Brant      Halton Hills      Hamilton     Oakville


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