Federal Budget Targets Travel and Tourism for Economic Growth
“Today’s Federal Budget demonstrates the government’s confidence in the travel and tourism sector’s ability to deliver economic benefits to Canada’s middle class. These announcements go a long way to improve Canada’s competitiveness as a global tourism destination. Investments in marketing, transportation, attractions and infrastructure will help attract international travellers to Canada and improve the visitor experience,” stated Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC).
TIAC welcomes the proposed $50 million funding increase to Destination Canada’s international tourism marketing over the next two years. Unlike many Canadian industries, travel and tourism is experiencing optimal business conditions, particularly from the US market where the combination of economic recovery, increased passport ownership and currency exchange provide an excellent opportunity to generate interest in travel to Canada.
“While the low Canadian dollar has the potential to generate tourism demand, the key to growth is marketing. The lower value of the Canadian dollar has diminished Canadian buying power in key markets like the US, UK and Europe. Today’s Budget announcement positions Canada well and provides certainty for our industry over the next two years,” added Bell.
Canadians understand the importance of the tourism sector and support government investment. A recent Nanos survey found Canadians are most likely to cite tourism and travel as the industry with the greatest growth potential in Canada. The same survey found that 82% of Canadians believe now is the time to invest in attracting more visitors to Canada.
“TIAC wishes to recognize the enthusiastic support for the tourism industry shown by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and the Parliamentary Tourism Caucus, who champion our industry in a non-partisan manner in both Houses of Parliament,” concluded Bell.
Overall this Budget includes $569 million in measures to strengthen travel and tourism in Canada, including:
- $40 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to renew the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development program delivered by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency;
- $42.4 million to continue work on developing new national parks and national marine conservation areas, including the Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area, Nunavut and Thaidene Nene National Park, Northwest Territories;
- $83.3 million, to provide free admission for all visitors to national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites operated by Parks Canada in 2017, and to provide free admission for all children under 18 years of age, beginning in 2018; and
- $16.6 million over five years to expand the Learn to Camp program, develop new programming to tell Canada’s stories, and encourage Indigenous story-telling and eco-tourism opportunities;
- $85.9 million to expand/improve part of the Trans-Canada Highway through Yoho National Park in British Columbia;
- $21.6 million to pave highways through Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories;
- $65.9 million for a new biking and walking trail in Jasper National Park in Alberta; and
- $17.7 million to build a new biking and walking trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in British Columbia;
- $3.3 million to support an in-depth assessment of VIA Rail’s high-frequency rail proposal;
- $34 million to VIA Rail for improvements at stations and maintenance centres;
- $51.9 million to support the continued operation of ferry services in Atlantic Canada;
- $22 million to Marine Atlantic Inc. to install a new mooring system for its ferries operating between Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, and North Sydney, Nova Scotia;
- $10 million for the promotion and hosting in Toronto of the 2017 Invictus Games for ill and injured veterans;
- $25.3 million from the Small Communities Fund to support five recreational and sport facility projects in Nunavut, including a cultural centre in Cape Dorset, repairs for the Cambridge Bay Arena and the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre.
Click here to read the complete TIAC release.