Canada will continue to lose its attractiveness as a tourist destination unless governments take immediate action to ease tax, regulatory and other burdens on the $71.5 billion industry, according to a new study by the National Travel and Tourism Coalition (NTTC).
“Since 2002, Canada has slipped from eighth most-visited destination in the world to fifteenth,” says Tourism Industry Association of Canada President and CEO David Goldstein. “If we are to compete globally and regain our position as a top ten destination in the world, the policy-based impediments that have been built into our sector need to be addressed.”
The Coalition’s analysis and recommendations are contained in Looking to 2020 – the Future of Travel and Tourism in Canada. The NTTC is comprised of representatives from the tourism, hotel and air transport industries, whose members collectively represent $29 billion in GDP and 650,000 employees across Canada.
The study provides a description of the opportunities tourism presents for Canada, together with a set of realistic policy recommendations that will set the stage for economic growth and export development in the short to medium terms. The whitepaper identifies four areas in particular that require public policy fixes:
- A fair taxation regime that assists the growth of international travel and tourism;
- A level playing field with the United States in competition for overseas and trans-border travel and tourism;
- Policies that enhance global competitiveness of Canada’s travel and tourism industry;
- Access to a sufficiently large and skilled labour force for Canada’s travel and tourism industry.
“The mounting burden of fees faced by potential visitors and the structural costs on the aviation sector need to be addressed if we are to become a competitive industry,” said National Airlines Council of Canada President George Petsikas. “We cannot continue to weigh our sector down with these financial burdens and expect to compete with other destinations around the world.”
“Our sector needs an adequately-sized workforce if we are to succeed and compete,” said Hotel Association of Canada President and CEO Anthony Pollard. “We need to ensure that Canada’s immigration policy and programs that help provide us with a sufficient pool of workers and that help to train them remain available going forward.”