$16 Billion Ontario Tourism Gap Requires a Dedicated Government
Strategy: Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Lost Revenue From The Province's Tourism Industry Impacting Job Creation and Growth
Peterborough, ON, November 17, 2016: Today, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has released new data that reveals a significant tourism opportunity gap when compared to international growth rates. According to the organization's report, Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario, Ontario has foregone nearly $16 billion in visitor spending between 2006 and 2012 by not keeping up with global growth trends. While this year has been a strong year for tourism in Ontario, it is important that this recent growth is translated into long-term, sustainable gains in tourism visitation.
“The tourism industry is an important economic driver in the community with almost 1800 businesses and 17,500 jobs in the three ridings connected to Peterborough,” said Jason Becker, Chair of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “However, through research outlined in this report, we’ve found that Ontario is missing out on significant tourism growth in comparison to international trends. Our local industry and the province as a whole must take steps to boost our reputation as a global destination for foreign visitors and close the tourism gap.”
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce believes that for our member businesses and businesses in the tourism realm as a whole the sector should be studied through the lens of the province’s Red Tape Challenge. “We feel this type of analysis and feedback directly from businesses involved will help the government understand the needs of this economic sector and identify the pinch points,” adds Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
The report identifies a number of challenges faced by tourism operators and the broader tourism community in Ontario, while presenting a series of action items to address them. The Peterborough Chamber is encouraged that the government is moving ahead with an action plan for the province’s tourism industry, a key consideration highlighted by its membership.
The report is clear about the need for any provincial strategy to include measurable targets, a practice currently employed by many successful tourism destinations. These targets would help to organize and coordinate tourism activities amongst the diverse group of public and private tourism organizations in Ontario, another key recommendation of the report.
“Ontario's tourism sector needs a dedicated strategy driven by the provincial government that not only promotes tourism within Ontario, but also focuses on drawing in visitors from around the world,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “If we can do this successfully, the province will achieve substantial economic gains while keeping up with global growth trends.”
To produce this report, the OCC convened a group of Ontario’s leading thinkers within the tourism community. The report builds on previous initiatives undertaken by members of the tourism industry and further substantiates the need for a focused and measured approach targeted towards supporting the future of tourism in Ontario. The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Kawarthas Northumberland and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism for their participation.
“We were pleased to have been part of the background discussions for this report with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce through the Peterborough Chamber,” says Brenda Wood, Executive Director of Kawarthas Northumberland. “We are happy to see the report includes a recommendation for the provincial government to move to a multi-year funding model for provincial tourism marketing funding. The consistency and predictability of such a model would help us in the marketing and promotion of the region and its businesses.”
"The long-standing tourism industry in our region plays an important role in the vibrancy of the local economy. Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism, a division of Peterborough Economic Development is the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for the Peterborough Region. As an active member of the tourism community in Ontario, we're glad to see so many organizations involved in the call to improve the timeliness of tourism data dissemination, particularly as it related to visitation and spending, " says Rhonda Keenan, President & CEO of Peterborough Economic Development. "Also, as a destination that has experienced growth as a result of our recent investments in cycling infrastructure, we are pleased to see the recommendation to incorporate tourism into provincial infrastructure investments."
Learn more about: Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Media Contact:
Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
T: 705-748-9771 x215