Toronto, May 14, 2001 – Provincial and territorial ministers responsible for tourism, meeting in Toronto today, called upon the federal government to take a more active role in ensuring the continued growth of Canada’s tourism industry.
“All levels of government must work together and with the industry if Canada is to get its fair share of the estimated $1.5 trillion the world’s tourism industry is expected to generate by the year 2010,” said Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Tim Hudak, Chair of the meeting.
The provinces and territories agreed that a meeting with Industry Canada Minister Brian Tobin, as the lead federal minister for tourism, is essential to address concerns around a number of key issues, such as airline restructuring, federal-provincial-territorial funding agreements and national parks policy.
“Air access, affordability and competition are priorities for all of us,” said Hudak. “Policy must be developed with a strong regard for the needs of the tourism industry, which employs 7.5 times more people than the airline industry, and cannot be based solely on the vested interests of Canada’s air carriers.”
The Ministers agreed to move forward with co-operative efforts relating to research and product development. They also agreed to meet again in 2002 in Halifax.
Canada’s tourism industry is a key economic sector that annually generates $54 billion and 520,000 direct jobs.
§ The Ministers agreed that in order to remain competitive in the international tourism marketplace, all levels of government and industry must work in unison.
§ Issues that were raised by some of the participants involved:
Research – need for quality research to guide public and private sector investment, adequate funding for research and an inter-governmental approach to address gaps.
Air Accessibility – need for a mechanism/process to bring issues forward to the federal government, aviation data to monitor performance and inform marketing, affordability and service quality; access to all regions including remote areas and gateways to support local tourism economic growth.
Border Accessibility – infrastructure needs, including safe roads, well-maintained bridges and highways, and effective linkages between rail, road and air transportation; custom and immigration processes that enhance congestion at border crossings, create time delays and frustration for travellers.
Access to Capital – difficulties faced by tourism businesses in attracting private sector capital investment; inconsistency or lack of federal-provincial infrastructure support.
National Parks – need for industry development while sustaining ecological integrity; emerging issues of tourism redevelopment, human use pressures, upgrading of visitor facilities.
Skills and Training – barriers to a highly skilled work force, including seasonality, low wages and competition from higher-paid industries, lack of quality education/curriculum.
Marketing – need for more collaboration, sharing of information and research, effective representation; disparity in federal funding; harmonization with provincial/ territorial marketing strategies.
§ The Ministers agreed on the importance of growing tourism in all provinces and territories in order to create jobs, generate revenues and sustain local economic development in communities throughout the country.
§ The ministers received information on airline restructuring and its implications for tourism. Based on the analysis and findings presented, the Ministers agreed that:
Ø Competition within, and access to airline services on a regional, national and international basis, is critical to improving service for tourists travelling within, and to Canada.
Ø The collection and reporting of timely and adequate aviation data, including capacity, traffic and revenues by route and origin-destination, is essential to monitor the airline industry and carriers, and assess the potential of new services.
Ø The tourism industry needs to make formal submissions to the federal government to directly influence transportation policy.
Ø The federal government must listen to all stakeholders in determining air access rights to Canadian markets.
§ The Ministers agreed on the importance of research in strengthening tourism and supported sharing information on research activities and seeking out partnership opportunities to achieve cost savings.
§ The Ministers agreed on the importance of fostering strategic provincial and territorial product development, and supported working with the tourism industry to develop viable and sustainable tourism products.
§ The Ministers agreed on the importance of tourism agreements with the federal government to assist provinces and territories in developing partnerships on infrastructure, marketing, training, research and new product development.
§ The Ministers made a commitment to continue their collaborative approach to growing tourism through the establishment of inter-jurisdictional work teams on four priority issues:
Ø Airline competitiveness
Ø Product development
Ø Tourism agreements
Derek Tupling, Minister's Office
Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
Trish Alcorn, Director of Communications
Prince Edward Island