BARRIE, ONT. -- According to the Government of Canada - Ontario tourism accounts for $39.4 billion of GDP and supports more than 820,000 jobs.

That is why the government has announced it is investing 30 million dollars to support the tourism sector across southern Ontario.

“Our tourism sector and the 1.8 million people it employs across Canada have been hit hard by COVID-19, and we’re here for them,” said Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development.

Joly says the funds will provide financial relief to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) across southern Ontario that have experienced significant revenue shortfalls.

Organizations will be able to get their hands on the money immediately.

“The idea is that they should go and talk to Tourism Lake Simcoe and Tourism Barrie to make sure they can access these funds.

The money will be floating through the Ontario tourism organizations, and so that money will be in the hands of people that really need it,” Joly added.

The funding, delivered by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), will support southern Ontario’s 66 Destination Marketing Organizations.

‘’This will drive visitors back into local communities as the economy reopens,” Joly added.

Applications can be submitted online starting June 5. For more information on how to apply, click here.