About the Canadian Tourism Industry
Tourism means business in Canada. With $105 billion in total economic activity and 1.8 million jobs related to the sector in 2019, tourism is one of the few truly national industries that generate business in every region, province, territory, town and community.
The travel and tourism sector provides a vital stimulus to Canada’s commercial growth through the visitor economy. This is especially true because of the amount of economic activity which the sector draws into the country.
Globally, tourism is booming. International travel between countries represents the fourth largest export sector in the global economy, with over 1.4 billion international travellers spending $1.7 trillion USD outside their own borders in 2019.
In recent years, the Canadian travel and tourism industry has proven itself to be a strong and consistent engine of economic growth and job creation, during a time when other sectors are struggling due to global commodity prices and an unsteady dollar. This puts the industry in a favourable position that will help Canada reach its full potential in the years to come.
Supporting Tourism Recovery from COVID-19
It is no secret that despite amazing progress and growth in the tourism sector the last number of years, COVID-19 has had and will continue to have a negative impact on future growth. Since the shutdown Canada’s borders to all non-essential travel since March 2020, we have seen month over month losses of 98% of visitors. This is compounded by restrictions on domestic activities that have forced many tourism and hospitality businesses to face imminent closure.
Tourism is one of the few sectors that has a presence in every local economy in Canada. Before COVID-19, the sector employed 1 in 11 Canadians and contributed $105 Billion to the economy. Canada cannot afford to lose its tourism industry. There is much to be done, but it requires the support of the government.
TIAC has proposed a number of short, mid and long-term measures to support the recovery of Canada’s tourism sector. We invite you to read about these proposals:
The Need For Competitive Growth
While Canada’s numbers continue to grow, our market share of the tourism industry is not keeping pace with other countries. The UNWTO ranks Canada as 18th in overall visitation globally when we had been as high as 8th in 2000. Canada is also the only country to fall out of the top ten since 2000.
The recent much-needed and long overdue increase in international visitation, favourable currency exchange and federal support of increased Destination Canada funding are all positive signs. However, tourism is one of the fastest growing industries globally, and other countries are investing even more in this sector than Canada. In this competitive global market, we need to do more than keep up. We need to implement future-focused policy reforms that will make Canada more attractive to inbound visitors, who spend more and travel longer than domestic visitors. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the recovery of international travel will make this market more competitive than ever.
Canada’s market share of international tourism will continue to stay stagnant without addressing key labour, access, cost competitiveness, and marketing funding issues as identified by TIAC. From 2015 to 2019 Canada saw sustained growth in international arrivals, finally breaking 2002 visitation records and exceeding them by 2018.This should be seen as a platform for continued improvement, not a signal that the industry is performing at ideal levels. In the face of 2020 international border closures, we will need to work even harder to recuperate these hard fought for visitation levels, which are the only way we will see our sector thrive again.
TIAC's members believe that public policy challenges in four key areas are inhibiting growth in the sector: Labour, Access, Cost Competitiveness and Marketing Funding.
Path to immigration for all streams and for all skill levels that include hospitality, including an inclusive Municipal Nominee Program and reforms to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Immigration streams must meet labour market needs at all skill levels
Federal funded, skill and capacity programs that prioritize tourism jobs
ACCESS – VISA PROCESSING/BARRIERS TO ENTRY
Canada needs a streamlined visa process
Bring low-risk countries under the eTA program
Support pre-clearance -US border
No additional federal fees and taxes on tourism products
Reduce or eliminate fees, levies and taxes on air travel
Reintroduce incentives for foreign travellers through GST rebates or other means
MARKETING FUNDING TO SUPPORT TOURISM
No cuts to Destination Canada funding in future budgets
Establish long-term incremental funding model to boost tourism’s momentum