Industry Q and As | Industry Q and As

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Last updated: August 11, 2020

TOURISM SASKATCHEWAN - GENERAL
GOVERNMENT OF SASKATCHEWAN - PARKS AND TOURISM BUSINESSES
GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE
MARKETING
MARKETING AND EVENT FUNDING PROGRAMS
EDUCATION PROGRAMS (STEC)
INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT FUNDING PROGRAMS
PROVINCIAL PARKS
NATIONAL PARKS

TOURISM SASKATCHEWAN - GENERAL

How can I receive updates from Tourism Saskatchewan?

The Industry Update newsletters and the industry website are the best way to receive the most current information during the COVID-19 situation. Visit industry.tourismsaskatchewan.com/coronavirus-information.

How do I contact Tourism Saskatchewan?

Contact information for specific people and departments is available on the industry website.

Email your COVID-19 related questions, concerns and feedback to questions@tourismsask.com.

How can I update the status of the event or attraction I have listed on the Tourism Saskatchewan website?

Tourism Saskatchewan understands that event organizers across the province are in a difficult position. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the postponement, rescheduling or cancellation of many events. Alternately, some operators, businesses and communities are offering virtual tours and online events. It is important to ensure that accurate information is listed on TourismSaskatchewan.com. Email updates about your event to information.updates@tourismsask.com. Include the event name and indicate if it is cancelled or postponed in 2020. If postponed, include the anticipated date.

We welcome the addition of virtual tours, online shopping links and online programming links to your web listing’s description. Email the url link(s) and a short phrase to add to your current web listing. Ensure that you include your business name in the subject line of your email.

Now is an important time to add messaging to your own website or social media page. Let your potential customers know about visiting you virtually or, if you’re an event organizer, post a status update to assist potential customers with their future travel plans.

How can I find out about webinars and events for the tourism industry?

Many tourism-related organizations are offering online resources and webinars to keep stakeholders, businesses and workers informed on issues and developments relating to COVID-19. Tourism Saskatchewan provides links to relevant webinars, online training and learning events in the Webinars section on Industry.TourismSaskatchewan.com/coronavirus-information.

Does Tourism Saskatchewan offer any funding programs to assist the industry during this time of closures and low visitor traffic?

Tourism Saskatchewan does not currently have financing programs to assist small business owners affected by the COVID-19 situation. Visit the COVID-19 page for information about provincial and federal funding programs, business operations and small business supports that are available. 

Will the DMO/CMO workshops, HOST Saskatchewan Conference and the Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala be rescheduled?

These programs and events are postponed indefinitely. 

GOVERNMENT OF SASKATCHEWAN - PARKS AND TOURISM BUSINESSES

What is the latest information on the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan?

The Government of Saskatchewan announced guidelines for additional activities resuming in Phase 4, Part 2 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan. These include guidelines for the following:

Effective July 16, live performances will be permitted in restaurants and licensed establishments, as well as at public and farmers markets. Physical distancing will be required, with greater distances needed depending on the activity and instruments involved. Dance floors and karaoke are not permitted at this time.

Additional information will continue to be added to the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan based on direction from public health officials and input from businesses and service providers.

Saskatchewan residents are encouraged to become familiar with the revised guidelines and abide by recommendations to ensure that Saskatchewan re-opens safely and there is minimal transmission of COVID-19.

 

When will outfitters and fishing camps open?

The Government of Saskatchewan outlined Phase 2 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan, which includes the addition of Outfitting Guidelines.

Beginning May 15, owners and employees of outfitting operations are allowed to travel to outfitting camps, including those in the Northern Saskatchewan Administrative District (NSAD), to prepare for the outfitting season and secure the premises. Operators must comply with the requirements of the public health order, including the travel restrictions within the NSAD.

Guidelines for businesses and industries provide specific information to follow.

Will all campgrounds in Saskatchewan be open as of June 1, 2020?

Camping is permitted at private and provincial campgrounds as of June 1, 2020. However, privately operated campgrounds maintain autonomy in determining when to open after June 1, 2020. For information about private campgrounds, please contact individual operators directly. For more regional parks information, email questions to reception@saskregionalparks.ca or visit saskregionalparks.ca.

Where can businesses find information about restrictions that remain in place and recommended practices for keeping employees and customers safe?

COVID-19 Workplace Information is available and lists general restrictions and recommendations; points about cleaning, disinfection and personal protective equipment (PPE); and monitoring worker health and employing preventative measures.

When can golf courses open?

Golf courses can open on May 15, in compliance with specific Golf Course Guidelines. Physical distancing on courses must be maintained and certain restrictions apply. Signage must be posted cautioning players about the risks of COVID-19.

Golf Course Guidelines is a comprehensive list of restrictions, compliance orders and recommendations.

For general workplace guidelines, please refer to COVID-19 Workplace Information.

GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

What is the Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program?

The Government of Saskatchewan announced its $35 million investment in the Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program (STSSP). The program offers relief to tourism businesses that suffered severe losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of the investment is targeted for marketing support to reignite interest in and demand for Saskatchewan travel experiences.

The STSSP offers a one-time, non-repayable emergency payment to eligible tourism operators in the hospitality and event/attraction industries. For the accommodation sector and large event facilities, payments will range from $10,000-$50,000, depending on sales revenue. For attraction, tour or event operators with ongoing fixed costs, the payment range is $7,500-$15,000.

The STSSP application period is August 24-October 1, 2020.

Of the $35 million, $5 million will be issued to Tourism Saskatchewan to support marketing the province as a destination. The funding will help industry operators and businesses generate short- and medium-term revenue. More details about this portion of the STSSP are forthcoming. Tourism Saskatchewan will communicate the latest information via Industry Updates and on Industry.TourismSaskatchewan.com as details become available.

Tourism Saskatchewan welcomes questions or inquiries from industry. Email questions@tourismsask.com.

What is the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund?

The $1 billion Regional Relief and Recovery Fundwill assist the tourism sector and season businessesineligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Business Account.

 

Through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), $304 million is available to businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemicA total of $208.5 million will go directly to small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Another $95.7 million is available to businesses in small towns and rural areas through the Community Futures Pan West NetworkEligible businesses, such as retailers and restaurants, can access loans up to $40,000.

 

Businesses and organizations that were unable to access existing federal COVID-19 relief programs are encouraged to review the RRRF eligibility requirements or to contact WD for more information. 

What are the eligibility requirements eligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account? 

The Government of Canada announced changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) that will benefit more for small businesses.

The qualifying range has been expanded to include businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. Qualifying applicants can access interest-free loans of up to $40,000. View Canada Emergency Business Account information and support available through the Business Credit Availability Program on the Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan portal.

Tourism Saskatchewan is actively sharing information about the needs of tourism industry operators with both the provincial and federal governments. Tourism Saskatchewan is a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), as well as a provincial government organization, therefore we are not in a position to lobby. Our role is to collect as much information as possible from you in order to inform decisions about solutions for the COVID-19 challenges that our industry is facing.

Please visit the industry.tourismsaskatchewan.com/coronavirus-information page for full information on all of the provincial and federal assistance programs available. 

Information about this issue will be shared and updated as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please continue to email your questions, concerns, ideas and feedback to questions@tourismsask.com.

Are there any provincial assistance programs for outfitting or seasonal businesses?

The Government of Saskatchewan announced new supports for northern outfitters and businesses operating in provincial parks. Amendments to the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) program will ensure these small businesses are eligible for grants up to $5,000.

On May 8, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) program will be extended to the month of May for businesses that are required to remain closed or substantially curtail operations after May 19, 2020.The SSBEP is a $50 million program providing financial support as a one-time grant to small and medium-sized businesses that have had to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are paid based on 15 per cent of a business’ monthly sales revenue, to a maximum of $5,000. 

Businesses will not need to reapply to the program.  Businesses that qualify for the program will automatically receive a second payment after May 19.  

For more information and the SSBEP application, businesses can visit www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-businesses.

This is in addition to measures taken by the Ministry of Environment to waive lease fees for outfitters for the 2020 season and providing flexible licensing arrangements for those suspending outfitting activities.

 Seasonal Business Benefits:

  • Payments are based on 15% of a business's average monthly sales revenue, based on the full months that the business carried on operations in 2019.
  • The maximum payment is $5,000 per business.
  • Payments can be used for any purpose, including paying fixed costs or expenditures related to re-opening the business following the pandemic.

To be eligible, a seasonal Saskatchewan business must:

  1. Have been eligible to carry on business in Saskatchewan on February, 29, 2020;
  2. Have been ordered to temporarily close or substantially curtail operations during the public emergency period;
  3. Have less than 500 employees;
  • In the year before the COVID-19 public health order; or
  • When averaged for the 3 years before the year in which the COVID-19 public health order;

4. Attest that they:

  • Have experienced a loss of sales revenue due to a COVID-19 public health order;
  • Plan to reopen operations following the cancellation of the COVID-19 public health order;
  • Have not received any payments or amounts from any other sources, including insurance, to replace or compensate for the loss of sales revenue other than amounts from other government assistance programs; and

5. Apply on or before July 31, 2020.

seasonal business is a small business that carries on business only for part of a year. Eligible seasonal businesses that have previously applied should reapply. Click here to apply.

 

MARKETING

How will Tourism Saskatchewan adapt its marketing plans to help the tourism industry struggling from the sudden and uncertain impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Tourism Saskatchewan is working quickly to reassess planned marketing activities and investments in the 2020-21 fiscal year. Over the last couple of years, Tourism Saskatchewan has invested more resources to build capacity and generate business from long-haul export markets.

The COVID-19 situation will have a significant impact on the Saskatchewan tourism industry. Moving forward, we will refine our strategy and messaging. We recognize that driving shorter-term business, from shorter-haul markets within the province, will best support tourism operators. This will be especially important once restrictions are lifted and people feel comfortable travelling again. 

Will Tourism Saskatchewan continue to advertise?

Tourism Saskatchewan ceased advertising spends in the United States and in Canada outside of the province. Messaging across Tourism Saskatchewan’s channels is assessed to ensure that content and tone is sensitive to the current situation. As we work on developing recovery plans for the short and longer-term, we will continue to consult current research and government guidelines for re-opening to make evidence-based decisions on advertising and marketing tactics. 

Tourism Saskatchewan is working with our federal partner, Destination Canada, to pause international co-operative marketing activities in Germany and the U.K. We will also shift resources towards domestic advertising campaigns, as a collective Team Canada approach, at the appropriate time.

MARKETING AND EVENT FUNDING PROGRAMS

I recently applied for funding from the Marketing & Event Partnership or Event Hosting Program. When will I find out the status of the application?

All applicants were informed of an amended program with a new deadline of July 30. A second phase of the amended program is expected later this year. Additional inquiries can be directed to Nathan Morrison at 306-787-5525, nathan.morrison@tourismsask.com

I received past funding for an event or activity that has been cancelled or postponed. Will Tourism Saskatchewan honour the commitment for this event or activity at a later date or for a modified program?

All committed funding commitments made previously will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Direct these questions to Nathan Morrison – nathan.morrison@tourismsask.com.

EDUCATION PROGRAMS (STEC)

Can I still take the Serve It Right Saskatchewan (SIRS) course and access my online certificate?

Yes, you can purchase and complete the online course. Go to sirs.ca and login or create an account. Technical support is available Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 306-933-5900.

INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT FUNDING PROGRAMS

Will someone from Tourism Saskatchewan still be able to make a site visit during this time of uncertainty?

It depends. In person visitation will be examined on a case-by-case basis.  Factors we will consider are travel distance, availability of the appropriate Tourism Saskatchewan staff to address the needs of the operator and the current government recommendations that are in place at the time of request.

Will the Tourism Product Diversification and New Market Development Program and the Destination Experience Development Program still be open for application intake in mid-April?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tourism Saskatchewan is adjusting the intake period for two application-based funding programs:

  • Tourism Product Diversification and New Market Development Program
  • Destination Experience Development Program

These programs encourage industry investment in quality, diverse tourism experiences, and align with recommendations in the ten-year Destination Development Strategy for Saskatchewan. They were originally scheduled to begin accepting applications in April.

Tourism Saskatchewan recognizes the serious challenges facing tourism operators and businesses. An appropriate new timeline for the programs will be determined and announced at a later date.

For additional information about the programs, visit industry.tourismsaskatchewan.com/apply-for-funding
If you have questions, email Denise Stroeder at denise.stroeder@tourismsask.com.

If I apply and receive funding from one of the programs, will I still have to complete the entire project within a defined timeframe?

Yes, projects that receive spring 2020 intake funding will be required to complete the project within 18 months after the contract is signed.

Our community/region has been working on a Community Tourism Plan. With the social distancing restrictions and self-isolation recommendations in place, how should we proceed with our project?

The Community Tourism Planning Guide is full of step-by-step recommendations. The activities and worksheets can be completed by committee members in isolation, before sharing with the group, to keep the momentum moving forward.

PROVINCIAL PARKS

When will Saskatchewan Provincial Parks and campgrounds be open to the public?

Provincial Park campgrounds are open for overnight camping effective June 1, 2020. Priority bookings are given to Saskatchewan residents. Bookings are now accepted from out-of-province visitors.

SaskParks urges people to follow social distancing practices and take necessary precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Park staff are available by phone (1-800-205-7070) or email (parks.info@gov.sk.ca) to answer questions.You can also visit saskparks.com for more information. 

For the most up-to-date information on 2020 reservations and camping season, please review Provincial Parks FAQ.

I am interested in a seasonal campsite. Will I still have to pay the full amount?

Seasonal camping fees will be pro-rated to June 1, 2020.

If there is a delay in opening, will the camping season be extended this year?

Camping will be offered in all Saskatchewan Provincial Parks until September 30, 2020 with most services available. Provincial parks are open year round for those who wish to camp in the spring, fall and some parks even offer winter camping. When the online reservation system opens it will provide a list of which campgrounds within each park will offer camping until the end of September.

How can I contact Saskatchewan Provincial Parks?

Visit saskparks.com, call 1-800-205-7070 or email parks.info@gov.sk.ca.

For the most up-to-date information on 2020 reservations and camping season, please click here.

NATIONAL PARKS

Is Prince Albert National Park and Grasslands National Park open? 

Canadian residents will be able to camp in a number of national parks, beginning June 29. Grasslands National Park and Prince Albert National Park are included in the parks that are opening campgrounds for the summer season.

Before visiting, review Parks Canada’s guidelines for camping during COVID-19. Camping information specific to Grasslands National Park and Prince Albert National Park is also available.