Rebate program that helped save summer for hotels extended into fall

Penni Schewe

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A popular Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) COVID-19 tourism recovery program will continue into the fall.

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According to MCC, over 11,250 Manitobans used the organization’s Tourism Rebate Incentive Program (TRIP) adding around 9,300 hotel room nights and over 2,500 rebates on admission to Manitoba STAR attractions from July 31 to Aug. 16.

The chamber said it’s excited to announce an additional 18 days of TRIP from Aug. 26 to Sept. 12. The program, funded by Travel Manitoba, a Crown corporation, funnelled almost $1 million back to residents.

“There’s no question (tourism) is challenged,” said Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of MCC, adding TRIP saved the summer season for some hotels. “This is one of the biggest industries that has been impacted (by the pandemic). Prior to these programs being in place, we knew hotels were operating at 5% and 10% capacity – we were hearing that. Lodges and those kinds of things had been significantly impacted.”

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Under TRIP, residents submit qualifying receipts to access up to a $100 rebate on a one-night stay at an eligible hotel, or up to a $150 rebate on a hotel-designed stay and play package. The program also includes access to a rebate for 50% off admission fees at 31 participating Manitoba STAR attractions.

“If you talk to hotel owners, they love the program,” Davidson said. “To say this recovery program is a success would be a huge understatement, because thanks to Manitobans, TRIP has had an immediate, direct, and significant impact on Manitoba’s tourism industry. TRIP is a win-win design, with Manitobans out touring our beautiful province and enjoying the sights, while supporting the recovery of our recreational assets. And the best part is, there are still more rebates available, so we can open it up to even more Manitobans.”

Joel Waterman, general manager of Inn at the Forks said TRIP is a stroke of genius that saved his summer.

“The benefits have been twofold – it has encouraged Manitobans to feel comfortable getting out and rediscovering their province, while also giving hotels and attractions a much-needed boost,” he said. “Our property created a unique package for TRIP, and we’ve seen a huge spike in occupancy. The brightest days we have seen since the pandemic began.”

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