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Canada’s new opportunity to reach the top

“Seasonal and regional dispersion will foster business and community resilience in the face of climate-related crises such as wildfires or lack of snow. Longer seasons also make our industry more attractive to employees.”

Canada’s new opportunity to reach the top

“Seasonal and regional dispersion will foster business and community resilience in the face of climate-related crises such as wildfires or lack of snow. Longer seasons also make our industry more attractive to employees.”

Canada’s new tourism strategy is designed to propel the country back into the top echelon of the world’s most desirable destinations.

Unveiled at last week’s Rendez-vous trade show in Edmonton, Alberta, a series of initiatives that feature in a major launch called ‘World of Opportunity’ is targeting annual visitor spending increasing from $113 billion in 2023 to $160 billion by 2030, a number that would inject $450 million a day into the Canadian economy.

The country’s most far-ranging tourism reset for several years is the result of industry- and government-wide consultations that involved more than 20 federal agencies, 16 ministers and over 300 provincial and national partners, said Liza Frulla, Chair of the Board for Destination Canada.

“This strategy will put us in the top seven tourism destinations in the world,” enthused Soraya Martinez Ferrada (currently Canada stands at 13th). 

World of Opportunity identifies four ‘levers’ that pull the various strategy threads together: ‘Collective Intelligence’, ‘Sector Advancement’, ‘Destination Development’ and ‘Brand Leadership’.

And the primary goals include:

(a) Turning Canada into a more complete four-season destination, with a focus on autumn and winter, and ensuring there is a pipeline of new hotels and experiences to cater to the increased demand.

(b) Greater Investment in tourism products and “corridors”, particularly those developed in conjunction with communities to create long-term destination development strategies – which will be supported by assets and infrastructure.

(c) Ensuring better transportation access – both into and around the country.

(d) Increasing the revenue ‘yield’ on tourism products.

(e) Engendering more public support and understanding of the many benefits tourism brings

(f) Taking a sustainable approach to all facets of tourism development and promoting regenerative practices to facilitate responsible growth.

Destination Canada will also be looking at new ways to “brand and market” the country in ways that “differentiate Canada”.

To that end, the organisation will “harness the power of AI”, said Marsha Walden (pictured), President and CEO of Destination Canada. “We are fully embracing this new technology,” she added. 

Working with Indigenous stakeholders and growing Indigenous-owned and delivered products is also a priority.

The new strategy represents a “pivotal moment” for the tourism industry in Canada, Walden said.

“Tourism is a competitive global game and we needed to transform how we do things. In terms of where we stand in a global table, we have been slipping since 2009 and we needed a dynamic new perspective to unlock our full potential.”

In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Development Index, which measures the impact of factors and policies which enable sustainable development of tourism and its contribution to over 100 countries worldwide, ranked Canada as 13th – a drop of three places and marking the first time Canada has fallen out of the top ten. 

“The tourism sector accounts for one in 10 Canadian jobs and tourism enriches the lives of Canadians as well as our visitors,” said Walden. “It is an economic powerhouse that affects communities large and small, including our most remote places and empowers all those it touches.”

“But we can’t do it alone. To truly transform, there must be collective action. This is why Canadians are at the heart of this strategy. Together, we can drive transformative growth, inspire civic and national pride in what we have to offer, create sustainable, meaningful experiences for our guests and yield tangible benefits for our communities from coast to coast to coast,” she noted.

“Nations across the world are investing in tourism and so are we,” said minister Ferrada. 

“We are taking an all-Government approach and supporting tourism by investing in small- and medium-sized businesses across the country. We know that Canada has what travellers want: a sense of connection, real experiences and safe ones.”

Visitors from the UK are expected to reach 102% of 2019 levels next year (approximately 881,000), who will spend $1.8 billion. Destination Canada hopes to attract 1.3 million UK visitors by 2030, with their spend rising to $2.5 billion.

destinationcanada.com

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