Our tourism industry is beginning to bounce back — but our leaders need input from tourism-related businesses on how to guide that recovery.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is conducting public consultations on the development of a post-pandemic Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.
Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development estimates that our region attracts more than 3 million visitors who spend more than $300 million annually. Nationally, Destination Canada estimates tourism contributed $43.6 billion to our Gross Domestic Product.
In 2020, Statistics Canada found our tourism GDP dropped by 49%. Since then, it rose 4.4% in 2021 and continues to increase, including an 8.7% increase in the fourth quarter of 2021. Accommodation and food and beverage are leading the recovery with air transportation and travel services lagging behind.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce Senior Director, Transportation, Infrastructure and Regulatory Policy Robin Guy recently published an editorial in the Toronto Sun calling on the federal government to assist our airports in their recovery, noting travel declined by 95% from 2019 levels during the pandemic. It’s noted that in 2016, our airports contributed $48 billion to our economic output and employed 194,000 people.
Adding to issues with investments in our airport infrastructure and the large lines and delays in processing passengers, many Canadian passengers are struggling to get their passports. After a couple years of very limited international travel, Service Canada is struggling to keep up with a surge in demand. Calls to Service Canada about passports jumped from 5,000 to 200,000 per day and passports issued jumped from 363,000 to 1,273,000 over the last year.
The Government of Canada launched Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy in 2019, but the tourism sector has changed dramatically since then. Tourism and hospitality felt the effects of the pandemic immediately and continue to deal with COVID-related challenges.
The Government of Canada is looking to work with the tourism sector, provincial and territorial counterparts and Indigenous tourism partners to renew the strategy and set a course for growth, investment and stability.
The renewal of the tourism growth strategy was announced as part of the 2022 federal budget to help fuel the resurgence of tourism. The public consultation on the development of a post-pandemic Federal Tourism Growth Strategy opened May 18 and will run until July 20.
As per the federal government, the consultation will build on the work already done since the launch of the original strategy in 2019, with a particular focus on:
• labour gaps and instability
• investment attraction and destination development
• long-term economic growth across the country.
To share your views on how Canada can build on its reputation as a world-class destination, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submitting feedback is 11:59 p.m. ET on July 20, 2022.
Tourism is an important part of our local, provincial, and national economy and we need to invest in rebuilding, renewing, and expanding it for years to come.