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The Issues

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Marketing

Issue

With natural beauty, vibrant and safe cities, and unique experiences, Canada has the makings of a premier international travel destination.

While funding was recently stabilized at $95.5M a year, long-term success across the globe requires that Destination Canada be sustainably funded for the long-term.

Problem: Canada’s national tourism marketer (Destination Canada) must compete internationally with countries who outspend Canada for marketing. Under-funding continues to impact Canada’s ability to appeal to growing numbers of international visitors.

Recommendations

  • Make Destination Canada a more competitive tourism marketing organization to ensure long-term sustainable funding by establishing a hybrid funding model.
  • Increase Destination Canada’s base funding to $135 million, with annual performance-based increases.

Access

Issue

Inbound travel to Canada is growing every year, but we still fall behind other countries in our annual growth. Access issues present a barrier to entry and impact Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage. International travelers face too many hurdles before even setting foot in Canada for business, travel, or short-term study.

Problem: Our rankings for international openness are very low – in fact, Canada ranks 120th out of 141 countries according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Moreover, wait times for temporary resident (tourist) visas to Canada in high demand markets like China and India are unacceptably long.

 

Recommendations

  • Streamline the visa application process and bring low-risk countries under the eTA program for temporary resident visas.
  • Support measures that facilitate the freedom to move people across the border and through airports with expanded pre-clearance and adequate CATSA investments to meet service levels.
  • Ensure biometric requirements do not hamper tourism growth by ensuring ongoing monitoring of visa processing times, vigorous communications campaigns and investments in visa application centers and new technologies to facilitate timely processing.
 

Labour

Issue

People are the backbone of the hospitality and tourism sectors that create good middle-class jobs for Canadians. Tourism accounts for 1.8 million jobs across Canada, and employs a high number of young people, indigenous people, and new immigrants.

Problem: Tourism jobs are not seen as well respected, high opportunity career paths by many Canadians, or the government, despite significant labour need. Without progressive policy changes, Tourism HR Canada estimates that by 2035, nearly 60,000 sector jobs will go unstaffed.

 

Recommendations

  • The government of Canada use industry labour need as the main determiner to access all immigration streams, regardless of skill level. This includes permanent immigration and temporary labour solutions that meet the skills needs of the sector and regional labour markets.
  • Invest in skills/capacity building and employment bridging programs by prioritizing the tourism sector in ESDC and IRCC programming and by promoting tourism career options/ training to under- represented labour pools such as Indigenous youth and people with disabilities.
 

Cost Competitiveness

Issue

Taxes on tourism products (which add to the cost of travel) contribute disincentivise potential visitors. We are not a cheap destination, and our country’s size makes visiting multiple and remote areas very expensive.
Canada is one of the only countries in the world that charges tax to foreign visitors buying tourism products. This makes tourism the only Canadian export that is not zero-rated (tax removed).

Problem: The repeal of the tax rebate on accommodations in tour packages (FCTIP) negatively affected international sales for tourism businesses of all sizes. Despite an industry wide callout to the government to address this measure, no action has been taken to make Canadian tourism products more competitive on the international scene. This makes Canada a less attractive destination for meetings & incentive travel, as well as for more traditional tour packages.

Recommendation

  • Reduce taxes paid by international visitors to Canada through the removal of GST on tourism products sold abroad to international visitors; and reduce costs attributed to fees, levies and taxes on air travel to help make the cost of air travel competitive.

 

Check out TIAC’s Tourism Platform for more details on what the tourism sector hopes political parties will do to help tourism thrive!