Last year's TRIP program issued by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce was such a success that it's running again this year in advance of the May long weekend.
President and CEO Chuck Davidson says the dates include May 6 to the 16th.
"This is called TRIP," says Davidson. "Basically, all Manitobans have to do is book a hotel somewhere in Manitoba. and stay overnight. They will go on to the portal that we've created at www.tripmb.ca, upload their receipt, and we'll reimburse them $100 for doing so."
He notes the only stipulations involved are one per family, you must be 18 years or older, and you must be a Manitoban.
"We know how impacted the hospitality industry and the hotel industry, specifically, have been impacted as a result of COVID," explains Davidson. "So, we did this in August of last year and, at that point in time, more than 25,000 Manitobans took advantage of this. We were able to rebate close to $2.2 million back to Manitobans with that program at that point in time. So, with the long winter that we've had, and all the COVID restrictions, we thought, 'Why not do it again in advance of the May long weekend?' So, over the course of these 10 days, again, it's a simple program, they can stay at any one of the hotels in Portage la Prairie or anywhere in the province, and simply upload their receipt and we will reimburse them $100 as a result of that."
Davidson says that if you want to go to one of Manitoba's many Star Attractions instead, there's a plan for that as well. Upload your receipt and they'll rebate you 50 per cent of your admission price.
He notes their website contains all the information including rules, regulations, and how the program works.
"Our hope with this is that Manitobans will take advantage of it," adds Davidson. "The great thing about it is that, while they may get a rebated for $100 staying at a hotel or a motel, what they'll also do is spend money. What we found last time when we did this is that, even though we would rebate somewhere $100, they spent on average $510. The economic impact is somewhere in the neighbourhood of about $10 to $12 million in the first time we did this. We would expect again this time around to see somewhere between 10 to 15,000 Manitobans taking advantage of this."
Davidson says they expect to see an economic return on a prospected $1.5 million to be about $5 million.
"People go to different things when they go to your community and restaurants, and other things along those lines," notes Davidson. "This is a program that we've done in conjunction with Travel Manitoba and the province. So, we put in an application to run this program on their behalf. They've provided us with the dollars to do it. They agreed to do it because they see the return that they get on these programs as it's had a significant impact on the hotel industry. It's a big significant impact on the hospitality industry as a whole, as well."