TORONTO – Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for tourism met today to discuss ways to strengthen the competitiveness of Canada’s tourism industry. The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), and the Honourable Monique Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, co-chaired the meeting.
Ministers expressed confidence that the long-term growth potential for tourism in Canada is strong despite the immediate challenges faced by the sector as a result of the current economic climate. The federal, provincial and territorial governments recognized the vital role tourism plays with respect to the Canadian economy. A key outcome of the meeting was to work towards a national tourism revenue target of $100 billion by 2015. Ministers agreed the target is supported by government efforts to grow tourism in Canada.
“Back in 2006, tourism ministers set a target of $75 billion in tourism revenues by 2010,” said Minister Ablonczy. “According to Statistics Canada, we have reached revenues of $74.7 billion in 2008. The new 2015 target allows us to build on this past success.”
The Honourable Monique Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, said that it is imperative for provincial and territorial ministers to discuss the importance of tourism within a national context. “It is clear through today’s discussions that tourism is an important sector not only here in Ontario but across Canada,” said Minister Smith. “By working together and sharing our ideas and strategies with each other, we are providing insight into common issues the industry faces and helping to advance the national tourism agenda.”
Ministers heard from industry representatives and acknowledged that tourism is an economic driver that creates jobs and generates economic activity across the country. The meeting provided a forum to share information on positive measures adopted in all jurisdictions to help alleviate the impact of the current economic climate and advance the long-term potential of the tourism industry.
Provincial and territorial ministers welcomed the opportunity to hear from Minister of State Ablonczy on the development of a new Federal Tourism Strategy. They recognized that significant resources are invested in tourism by all levels of government, not only through tourism-specific programs. They also committed to work within their governments to help ensure that broader policies, programs and measures in all departments are implemented in ways that support tourism.
Canada’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister John Baird also presented at this meeting. Minister Baird addressed the important relationship between tourism and air services.
“The Government of Canada is committed to helping our tourism sector emerge stronger than ever and to maintaining Canada’s position as a top tourist destination,” said Baird. “We are taking steps now to make this happen, including an impressive air agreement strategy with other countries, the largest infrastructure renewal in decades and support for national parks, trails and tourism attractions across the country.”
Ministers also committed to continue joint efforts to take full advantage of the promotional opportunities linked to the upcoming 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games that will help to raise the profile of Canada’s destinations worldwide.
The Ministers plan to meet again in 2010 to share perspectives and actions taken by their respective governments in support of the tourism sector, and to take stock of progress towards the $100 billion target.
For further information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Diane Ablonczy
Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
Office of the Honourable Monique M. Smith
Minister of Tourism
Ontario Ministry of Tourism