Tourism takes a $60 million hit in Sarnia-Lambton says TSL head

With the US border closed and many attractions, like the Oil Museum of Canada, still working on an opening plan, Lambton County's tourist operators have been hard hit.

The head of Tourism Sarnia Lambton says the region has lost about $60 million because of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Mark Perrin, executive director of TSL, spoke at a community news conference Tuesday and says with the border closed and businesses shut down the local tourism sector hurting. Perrin says hotels alone in the region have lost $7 million.

“The casinos … haven’t reported exact figures, but obviously it’s pretty significant,” he added.

Theaters, like Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, have cancelled performances for the year and museums are still working on opening to the public.

Perrin hopes to help stimulate tourism with a new $290,000 grant from the federal government. TSL is putting together aprogram where visitors would be given vouchers to spend money at local businesses.

“When people do come to our region and take part in the different attractions we have… a voucher program in place where they’re able to be rewarded with a voucher good for shopping and restaurants and retail,” he says.

“It’s going to be one of the largest that our organization and Tourism Sarnia Lambton has ever been a part of.”