As the province prepares to release the provincial budget, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is continuing to express her concern over tourism in the region. She brought her concerns to Queen's Park on Monday, noting the closure of three regional tourist information centres after last years budget was released.
"Last year, this government closed all three of our travel information centres in favour of a travel app that doesn't work in the remote areas of my riding where tourists visit. Now, we have signs dotting the highway in these same tourist areas that encourage travel to Manitoba, over northwestern Ontario," she said.
The province decided last year to close the information centres, including the one located at the Manitoba border, in favour of technology based information. Campbell also raised the issue of signage along the highway, noting the changes came as tourist outfitters struggle for approval to place signs along the highway.
"This is all at a time when our tourist operators are finding it increasingly difficult to post their own highway signs along the same stretches of highway," she said.
She called on premier Kathleen Wynne to outline statistics that show the changes are having a benefit to Ontario residents. Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Chan defended the government's position, noting they needed to change with the times.
"Times have changed, and we have to change with time. When we talk about the tourism in the rural area, Speaker, it's important to understand that we're into information technology. Many tourists, when they come to Ontario, they will look into the website and they will plan before they even leave their house," he said.
Chan also said the tourism sector saw an increase across the province. He said using the information based technology allowed those outside the province to learn more about their destination before visiting them.
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