When Travelling is Schitt – Why the Industry Might Want to Look to Television to Rebound

The travel industry is taking the biggest hit in its history due to the COVID pandemic, and it’s taking many local “mom and pop” businesses with it. Canada’s fared fairly well in the management of the virus, as our numbers have not soared to the heights seen in other countries around the world. Yet it will take some time for the industry to bounce back, with some estimates that a full recovery won’t be seen until at least 2024.

Sunday’s 72nd Emmy Awards saw Canadian-made comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” sweep the comedy categories in a historic first for the awards.  During the virtual broadcast hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the first seven categories of “Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Writing, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Outstanding Comedy Series all went to Schitt’s Creek, which was created by father-and-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy and featured the iconic Catherine O’Hara and loveable Annie Murphy.

In total, 985 Canadian businesses benefited from production of the show, including 646 in the Greater Toronto Area, 28 in Goodwood, 289 in other communities across Ontario and 22 in other regions of Canada.

The Emmy sweep was of no surprise to fans who call themselves “Schittheads,”but it also raised the question; should the travel industry look to the film and television industry to help bounce back?

According to the Motion Picture Association in Canada, the 2018/2019 season employed more than 180,900 people, from special effects technicians to makeup artists to sound editors, carpenters and more, worked in jobs supported by the industry, with the total volume of film and television production reaching a record $9.32 billion and generating a GDP of $12.8 billion for the Canadian economy.

Most of the exterior shots of Schitt’s Creek were filmed in Goodwood, a small town just outside of Uxbridge, Ontario.  One local business, Annina’s Bakeshop & Catering, providded catering for as many as 120 cast and crew per day during seasons one through five. According to owner and chef, Marco Cassano, “the production increased business and exposure for the bakeshop and benefited local suppliers, providing a definite economic boost to the town of Goodwood during filming.”

Film and television production is an important part of the Toronto economy. More than 30,000 Toronto residents are employed in the production of screen-based projects, which are seen around the world.

“From Star Trek Discovery to The Handmaid’s Tale, from Schitt’s Creek to Kim’s Convenience, this $2 billion industry is not only a key economic engine for the city, but also a creative one,” says Marguerite Pigott, Film Commissioner and Director of Entertainment Industries at the City of Toronto.

“What attracts projects to the city is the entire ecosystem of the industry, which inextricably includes Toronto’s cosmopolitan, diverse and intensely creative residents. Content creators from around the world continue to choose Toronto as a key global production center to tell stories from, and, in turn, we are witnessing the city’s continued rise to the highest achievements in entertainment.”

Canada is listed as one of the most searched places to travel in the post-pandemic era, according to Google Keyword Planner tool

The demand is there for both international and domestic travellers, so why aren’t we Canadians taking advantage of it?



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