Ontarians offered savings on travel within the province
By Vivian Collings
Ontarians traveling within the province are eligible for a provincial government incentive known as the Staycation Tax Credit until the end of the year. It should prove beneficial to tourism in Haliburton County.
The Staycation Tax Credit allows Ontario residents to claim up to 20% of accommodation costs when traveling within the province on their personal income tax and benefit return for 2022. This opportunity is intended to encourage Ontarians to travel to the province to help boost tourism sectors. who may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Any resident of Ontario is eligible to claim the credit until December 31 of that year and the expenses that can be claimed are stays at hotels, motels, resorts, lodges, bed and breakfasts, cabins, campgrounds and vacation rental properties.
The Government of Ontario website states, “The credit will provide an estimated $270 million in support to approximately 1.85 million Ontario families.”
The Staycation Tax Credit is expected to benefit both visitors to Haliburton County as well as businesses in all sectors of tourism and hospitality.
Thom Lambert, content creator for the Haliburton County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, said, “This benefits any tourism operator in the county for several reasons. First, people are more likely to plan a trip or extend the duration of a trip because of a tax credit. Once visitors are “on the ground” in the county, they will be looking for captivating culinary experiences as well as outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. Second, if people had already booked a trip, they’ll likely spend the extra 20% on having more experiences.
Tracie Bertrand, Tourism Manager for Haliburton County, said, “For visitors, this means they feel ‘added value’ to their stay in Ontario. They now have the ability to afford to travel and stay in their own province.
Lambert believes that although there is no empirical evidence of a higher influx of visitors to the county this spring compared to others, he expects accommodations to be near capacity this summer.
“The past two tourist seasons in the Haliburton Highlands have broken records in many ways. Hotels, motels, cabin rentals and cabin occupancies have reached incredibly high levels. The perception that we have been a safe destination to isolate ourselves from the GTA has resulted in a tremendous amount of traffic to our area,” Lambert said.
Although the Staycation tax credit proves to be the most beneficial, it may not benefit all businesses.
Linda Coneybeare, travel consultant at Transat Travel, said, “With the price of gas, a spring/summer vacation to an Ontario destination is not what my clients are looking for. They would prefer to travel to Europe in the summer and to the south in the winter.
Coneybeare said she would have liked to see the travel credit extended to locations beyond Ontario to help airlines and travel agencies recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the past travel restrictions.
For more information on the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit, go to www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-staycation-tax-credit.