These Ontario cities and towns are now paying people to visit

A few Ontario cities and towns are now offering to pay tourists to encourage them to stay overnight this summer.

As more COVID-19 restrictions ease, tourism in Ontario is finally picking up speed, and now some cities and towns are offering benefits and rebates for people who visit.

The discounts are in addition to the 2022 provincial Staycation Tax Credit, which will allow Ontario travellers to get a 20 per cent personal income tax credit on eligible accommodation between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, up to a maximum of $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family, for a maximum credit of $200 or $400 respectively.

For example, Tourism Mississauga is offering a $100 prepaid gift card, and a $20 Square One gift card to anyone who books a two (or more) night stay in a participating hotel.

According to the city, the gift card is meant to be used in the area while you are staying in Mississauga.

The program was launched in response to the hard-hit tourism sector during the pandemic, the city said.

In Guelph, the city is promising locals and visitors, who are booking a minimum two-night stay at one of six participating hotels and guest houses, a $100 gift card.

A similar program is also available in London, where $100 VISA gift cards are handed out to people staying two nights or more at one of the participating hotels.

Ottawa Tourism says people who decide to stay in the city for three consecutive nights will get their third night hotel cost covered if they stay at a participating hotel.

Meanwhile, Tourism Burlington is offering one-night visitors a $50 VISA gift card and a $100 discount for people staying two nights in a row at a participating hotel.

Various hotels in Kingston are offering $100 VISA gift cards, as well as other perks like prepaid gas cards to cover fuel expenses.