Despite a busy forest fire season, Tourism Northern Ontario is reminding visitors that it is business as usual for tourism operators in Northern Ontario.
Although the affected areas in Northeastern Ontario only make up for one percent of the region’s geography, tourism operators have noted challenges as a result of the perceived danger of the fires. Two large fires which started early this season have been sensationalized in local and provincial news outlets, creating an unclear picture for potential travellers.
The largest of the fires, Parry Sound 33, is being held as of August 10th. Travel corridors including highway 11 and highway 69 are clear for travel throughout the region. Despite previous reports, the Village of Killarney and Killarney Mountain Lodge were never severely impacted by fires in the region.
Fire bans are being lifted across the Algoma region and into the Northeast as a result of lower fire activity and safer burning conditions. Fire hazard is moderate in the majority of Northern Ontario (please see https://www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires for an interactive map).
Operators are open for business and are encouraging visitors to keep their travel as planned. Most provincial parks remain open; Grundy Provincial Park was closed briefly but is now opening as of today.
Forest fires in the Northwest are a regular occurrence. Operators are reporting very little change to their business as a result of forest fire activity in the Northwest; however, significant forest fire activity is a challenge operators deal with each year. Their staff and visitors know the impact it will have on their travel which helps to mitigate any outstanding concerns operators may have to deal with.
Tourism Northern Ontario welcomes 8.2 million visitors to the North annually. The summer season is a busy time for Northern operators as they experience the majority of their business during the months from May to October.
100% of Destination Northern Ontario expenditures support tourism growth in Northern Ontario. 75% of expenditures support local organizations, businesses and partnerships, growing capacity in Northern Ontario. Additionally, Tourism Northern Ontario supports reactive messaging when necessary and is currently working with local partners to elevate messaging of the region being open for business despite the forest fire activity.
Travel in the North is safe. Tourism operators are open for business. The Ministry of Natural Resources continues to monitor the situation closely. Visitor safety is a top concern. Tourism Northern Ontario invites travellers from near and far to enjoy the natural wonders of Northern Ontario while feeling safe, secure and relaxed.
“Northern Ontario tourist operators have a long history of dealing with forest fires and as conditions ease the North remains a safe holiday destination for visitors. We hope to see returning and new visitors to the North very soon,” said Tourism Northern Ontario Executive Director, David MacLachlan.