Visa Processing Improvements Yield Results for Tourism but More Progress Needed to Boost Competitiveness: TIAC Report
OTTAWA, ON, May 26, 2016 - Today the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) released the Gateway to Growth: 2016 Visitor Visa Progress Report. This report examines recent progress made in the Canadian visitor visa system and ongoing challenges that visa documentation requirements create for the tourism industry. The fourth edition of this annual progress report finds that important progress has been made in modernizing the visa system but there are still areas in need of improvement.
“Over the course of the past four years TIAC has been successful in ensuring that the travel and tourism sector has a voice in developing an efficient traveller documentation process while maintaining necessary security precautions,” stated Charlotte Bell, President & CEO of TIAC. “However, Canada continues to lag behind its competitors in terms of requirements, processing times and reciprocity programs. Canada slipped from 106th to 118th (out of 140) in its ease of travel documentation requirements in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.”
In recent years Canada has experienced dramatic growth from emerging markets whose citizens require visas. Together, visitor levels from Brazil, China, India and Mexico to Canada have grown by 43% since 2010. In order to maximize growth in these key markets, Canada must find ways to ease or eliminate such access barriers for legitimate travellers – especially in light of biometric requirements that are due to come online in 2018.
TIAC makes a number of recommendations in the report including:
- Use eTA program to loosen restrictions on low risk travellers from key markets like Mexico
- Provide 24 hour live support to airlines for issues with eTA
- Further investments in processing and VACs, particularly in key markets like China
- Mobile biometric clinics
- Premium business services for visas
- Create a common travel area for North America
- Visa extensions onto new passport
Travel and tourism generate over $90 billion a year in economic activity in Canada. With 17 million international visitors every year this sector is the country’s largest service export – worth $17.2 billion annually. The sector is present in every region of the country and is Canada’s largest employer of youth under 25. While TIAC understands that the safety and security of Canadians are key priorities for the government, a modernized and streamlined visa documentation system will have a major economic impact through increased travel and tourism.
- 30 -
Vice President, Public and Industry Affairs
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
About the Tourism Industry Association of Canada
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada is the only national organization representing the full cross-section of Canada's $90 billion tourism industry. TIAC's members include air and passenger rail services, airport authorities, local and provincial destination authorities, hotels, attractions and tour operators.