Where we Stand

Canada is Falling Behind in the Global Tourism Marketplace

Canada is falling behind in a growing international market due to three key structural problems (M.A.P.):

  • M for Marketing
  • A for Access
  • P for Product

While the global tourism pie is getting bigger, Canada's share of it is shrinking. The Canada brand is ranked #1 on the FutureBrand Index – but we are 15thin foreign arrivals.

Between 2002 and 2010, almost all countries posted international tourist arrivals gains – except Canada. This means that strong brand interest is just not converting into arrivals.

Who wouldn't want to come here? We are blessed with the basics: Unique natural vistas, safe and inviting cities, renowned festivals and attractions… but the basics are not enough in this increasingly competitive sector.

Like all other export consumers, the burgeoning international travel class has choice… and increasingly, people are choosing not to pay high Canadian taxes or deal with red tape to come here.

Our sector now has to adjust to the "new normal" – A tighter border with the United States and a dollar which will remain roughly at par with the American greenback for the foreseeable future.

Taxation and Visa policies are seen as the biggest barriers to entry. Canada ranks 125th in the world on aviation costs, for example.

Canada's Burgeoning International Travel Deficit

Like many developed nations, Canada shows a deficit between the amount of money spent by its citizens traveling abroad and the amount spent by those international visitors arriving in their country.

However, the continued growth of Canada’s travel deficit is a prime indicator of how Canada is falling behind other countries in terms of competitiveness.

Putting it in Perspective...

Total tourism spending by non-resident travelers to Canada is approximately $14.4 billion. Last year, foreign visitors accounted for approximately 118 Million person nights in Canada. This is the equivalent of adding almost 325,000 additional "superconsumers" in the Canadian economy (people who are here only to spend), roughly the population of Windsor, ON.

If we were back in the top 10 for foreign arrivals, Canada would have:

  • 5.7 million more visitors
  • $5.2 billion additional dollars spent in the Canadian economy
  • 46,900 more jobs
  • $720 million more annually for the federal government
  • $797 million more annually for provincial and territorial governments

Without these additional visitors, Canadians will have to pay more in taxes to offset the lack of revenue from foreign visitors.

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