Message from the President & CEO > Message from the President & CEO – October 6, 2022
After more than two difficult years for our industry, the last of the remaining COVID-19 vaccine border restrictions have finally been lifted. Rumors had been circulating as early as mid-September that the Government of Canada would be moving in that direction, but the details were scant. It wasn’t until I landed in Bali, Indonesia, to celebrate the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO’s) World Tourism Day at the invitation of the UNWTO and World Travel and Tourism Council, that the news became official.
My thoughts turned immediately to my team at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), as well as to the committees I co-chair (the Coalition for the Hardest Hit Businesses and the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable), to our countless hours and tireless work of the past few months. While we all wish the announcement came far sooner, this was undoubtedly a moment of celebration for everyone – and made World Tourism Day especially significant to me this year.
No doubt that our industry continues to face significant challenges. A severe labour shortage. Supply chain disruptions. And rising inflation. But for the industry first hit, hardest hit, and last to recover, the elimination of these final restrictions means that we are now truly open to receiving those international travellers that are the lifeblood of our visitor economy. Thus, our work going forward will be laser-focused on ensuring private-sector input and guidance in the development of the government’s new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. It will be very much needed in order to regain the ground loss, to build tourism back to the $105 billion-dollar economic powerhouse it was prior to the pandemic.
For TIAC, the elimination of the restrictions is just the beginning – there is much more work to be done. Earlier this month, I appeared before the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Finance to represent TIAC during pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2023 Federal Budget (you can watch here). And in two short weeks we will be launching another Hill Days advocacy campaign, our second this year, aimed at raising awareness of the challenges tourism continues to face in a series of back-to-back meetings over three days with parliamentarians and other officials. If you hold a full TIAC Membership, you’re invited to attend a special reception on the evening of Oct. 19, 2022, 6-8 p.m. in Ottawa (180 Wellington St., Room 430). In addition to TIAC members, invited guests will include all Members of Parliament, Senators, as well as senior staff from key federal departments. Please RSVP here!
And if you haven’t yet, please save the date for TIAC’s annual Tourism Congress; which will take place Nov. 22-23, 2022. In partnership with Ottawa Tourism, we are looking forward to welcoming over 400 delegates to The Westin Ottawa to this year’s conference, themed “Reimagining Tourism” with great sessions on the Future of Business Events, Labour and Border Modernization, and Regenerative Tourism, just to name a few.
We will be bringing together a group of new speakers, new voices, and new perspectives – all ready and excited to share their strategies on how to make our future industry stronger! Registration is now open – but hurry, seats are filling up fast. I hope to see you there so we can celebrate the real reopening of our industry, in person… together.
President & CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Canada