News for the Hospitality Executive
Dear Valued Member,
Canada’s tourism industry is in crisis; plain and simple.
Funding for the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), Canada’s national marketing agency, has declined from $100 million in 2001 to $72 million in 2012 and $58.5 million in 2013. The cuts come when Canada faces increasing competition from international competitors including the new $200 million Brand United States Program - $20 million of which is being spent in Canada.
What is the result? 10 years ago 35 percent of tourism revenue in Canada came from the international market; today it is down to only 20 percent. Due to lack of funding, the CTC has been forced to exit many markets including Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and major cuts in Japan and the United States.
Quite simply Canada is not keeping up globally.
The Government of Canada has recognized the critical importance of tourism, domestically and internationally. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said; “It is our hope that the Federal Tourism Strategy [announced in 2011] will help inspire the world to explore Canada while also making it easier to travel to our beautiful country” .The Government of Canada in the Federal Tourism Strategy has itself set a target of $100 billion in revenue by 2015. This builds on the Government of Canada Economic Action Plan wherein “tourism is identified as a strategic priority.”
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Tourism, has invited the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) to present industry options for long term sustainable funding for the CTC. In April, I along with HAC Chair, Hank Stackhouse and TIAC President David Goldstein met with the CTC Board to review possible funding options including a redirection of the GST on aviation charges to the CTC, a redirection of any surplus from Air Travel Security Charges to the CTC or a visitor entry fee.
A sustainable and competitive CTC would move us to a position of strength over the next five years. It would allow us to take full advantage of immediate emerging markets and it would counter the Brand USA attack on Canada’s domestic market. It would generate 5.7 million additional visitors, create $8.2 billion in new export revenues, 64,000 additional jobs and establish tourism as a true export industry.
Now consider the alternative of not securing sustainable funding. Our marketing reach would be reduced to its lowest levels. Partnership leveraged funds would be severely eroded. The CTC would have to further abandon key markets.
Canada cannot squander an opportunity to move to a position of strength. We cannot miss the open door of emerging markets and risk continued decline in our competitive positioning.
The HAC is asking each and everyone of you to contact your MP and advocate for the importance of new sustained funding for the CTC. The status quo is not an option.
Anthony P. Pollard
About the Hotel Association of Canada
The Hotel Association of Canada is the national voice and resource for the Hotel and Lodging Industry in Canada. For nearly 100 years, it has worked to enhance the prosperity of the Canadian Hotel and Lodging Industry through strong member engagements, effective government advocacy, and the provision of value added programs and services. The Hotel Association represents more than 8,400 hotels, motels and resorts that encompass the $16 billion Canadian hotel industry which employs 284,000 people across Canada.
Hotel Association of Canada
Tel: (613) 237-7149
Cell: (613) 850-1685
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