Media Releases

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nation-wide tourism study highlights challenges, outlines steps for success

Tourism Whistler media release
For immediate release - February 16, 2015

Nation-wide tourism study highlights challenges, outlines steps for success

Whistler, B.C. – A national Tourism Roundtable of industry leaders has released a groundbreaking report: Tourism in Canada – Seizing Economic Advantage – and is asking for the Conservative government’s support in addressing its key findings.

The Tourism Roundtable, initiated by West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country MP John Weston, secured 25 business funders from across Canada and commissioned internationally acclaimed research consultant Deloitte to undertake this important work.

Deloitte reviewed more than 60 research reports and interviewed a dozen industry experts to develop this report, which articulates, in one comprehensive document:
• The total value of Canada’s tourism industry
• Where Canada falls short compared to international competitors; and
• The top four drivers that would lead Canada back to the top, along with their economic benefits

“I applaud the success in bringing together tourism leaders from across Canada to focus on where we can do better as a nation in a highly competitive world,” said Weston. “Also, I would like to congratulate co-chairs Barrett Fisher and Stuart McLaughlin, and all the other members of this hard-working roundtable that has been cooperating for well over a year to produce this ambitious set of recommendations.”

"The report has involved extensive research and consultation," said Fisher, President & CEO of Tourism Whistler, whose organization managed the process. “This insightful and independent report outlines the most critical opportunities for growing Canada’s tourism industry, which in turn would increase national jobs, tourism receipts and tax revenues,” she said.

“This is an important piece of work,” said McLaughlin, President of Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd. “There have been many opinions as to the top tourism drivers, but this report definitively identifies and quantifies how Canada can restore its ranking as one of the top 10 countries in the world for tourism arrivals.”

McLaughlin and Fisher added that the report provides tangible facts, specific competitive examples and four key recommendations:

• Eliminate visa requirements in Mexico and Brazil and further reduce visa processing times in China and India;
• Reduce fees and charges that are creating an uneven playing field for the air transportation industry;
• Negotiate more open and non-restrictive air agreements in target markets (such as Southeast Asia, South America and the Middle East) to increase air routes and capacity;
• Restore the Canadian Tourism Commission’s funding to its 2001 level of $100 million annually, adjusted for inflation, and consider alternate funding approaches that could further leverage private sector partner contributions

Deloitte conservatively projects Canada could see an annual increase of 7 per cent in international tourism arrivals over three years. This would result in 3.8 million new tourist arrivals, $2.9 billion in additional tourism spending, an increase of $2.5 billion in GDP, and up to 40,000 new Canadian jobs.

“Finally, a study that not only pulls together the latest research and outlines the economic value of the tourism industry to the Canadian economy, but also proposes actions to take advantage of Canada’s opportunities,” said Canadian Senator Nancy Greene Raine. “Policy makers must read this definitive report.”

The tourism industry in Canada currently represents approximately 2 per cent of the GDP with tourism activity in Canada contributing $22 billion in federal government revenue in 2012.


Media Contact

Patricia Westerholm (on behalf of the Tourism Roundtable)
Manager, Communications
Tourism Whistler
T: 604.938.2748