April 24, 2003

York Region responds to economic fallout from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

NEWMARKET Ė In light of the recent World Health Organization travel advisory warning travellers against coming to Toronto because of the SARS outbreak, York Region is working with the private sector and tourism partners on a plan of action to respond to the economic fallout in Ontario. York Regional Council is also ready to respond to the local economic impacts.

"York Regional Council has already asked staff to look at economic issues regarding SARS and Council is prepared to review any additional measures that may be necessary to continue to ensure the economic health and prosperity of our Region," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.

Although it is early to speculate on the tourism dollar losses in the Region, research is currently being compiled with various tourism sectors to determine the economic impacts. Attached is a preliminary status report. In the mean time, York Region Tourism is proceeding with its advertising initiatives for the year. They include:

In 2001, York Region welcomed 2.1 million visitors who spent $126 million. Americans accounted for 125,000 of these visitors, spending $64.3 million, and 46,000 visitors, spending $25.4 million came from overseas.

See attached Fact Sheet on preliminary local economic impact of SARS.

Fact Sheet

Economic impact of SARS

Currently there is not enough information for anyone to come up with an accurate estimate on the economic impact of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. The following is a preliminary status report on the local impact.

Hospitality and Tourism Sector

Overall Economic Impact

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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