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COVID-19 continues to jellify Sault Ste. Marie's hospitality sector

Major push planned for Indigenous tourism
COVID-19 Hospitality
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A global coronavirus pandemic and closure of the Canada-U.S. border are continuing to wreak havoc on Sault Ste. Marie's hospitality sector, according to the latest room occupancy statistics released at this month's meeting of the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie board.

In the peak month of August, when 84 per cent of local rooms were occupied in 2019, only 64.8 per cent were rented in 2020.

In October 2020, the most recent month for which operational data were available, just 47.4 per cent of rooms were occupied, compared to 73 per cent in the same month last year.

With the average daily rate of a hotel room slashed $17.81 to $104.44, revenue per available room was $49.48, compared to $89.24 in October, 2019.

Among other initiatives, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is working on a major push for Indigenous tourism:

  • working with Canoes for Conservation, Shingwauk Residential School Centre and Indigenous Tourism Ontario on new programming available for 2021
  • city staff have been assisting with development of programming for the Metis Nation of Ontario Cultural Centre
  • working with Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site on an Indigenous dining theatre program
  • researching new locations for Indigenous all-terrain vehicle tours and programming for 2021

Directors attending the Jan. 7 meeting were told that while CN wants to start operating the Agawa Canyon Tour Train June, the rail giant has given no indication how many days a week the train will run at the beginning of the season.

CN has told Tourism Sault Ste. Marie that it expects to know by May 1 whether it will run tour trains in June.

David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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