Travel Industry Poised to Boost Canadian Exports: US Market and Border Efficiencies Central to Growth Potential
Travel and tourism is growing at a global annual rate of 5% and so too should Canada with its modern infrastructure, exceptional experiences and skilled workforce. Unfortunately, Canada's global competitiveness is undermined by a few long-standing, yet fixable, public policy issues that serve to limit annual growth to 1.5%.
"As a trading nation, Canada must do a better a job of expediting the movement of people across our borders. Under the mobility economy, ease of access andtraveller facilitation is as important to trade development and business investment as they historically have been for tourism," stated David Goldstein, TIAC President and CEO.
Furthermore, the mobility economy establishes international connections which help stimulate economic growth in other segments of the economy. A recent Deloitte study states that for every 1% increase in international visitors, overall exports - that is exports in sectors outside travel - will increase by $800 million.
According to today's report, Canada's travel and tourism industry appears to be performing well, posting a $700 million increase in annual receipts from overnight visitors to Canada between 2000 and 2012. However, when adjusted for inflation in 2007 constant dollars, the industry actually experienced a 25% drop in real value over that same period.
With domestic travel accounting for over 80% of total demand, Canada must do more to increase market share of lucrative international visitors, particularly from the United States. International travellers stay longer and spend more, thereby driving investment and profitability across the industry.
Americans are both Canada's most significant source market and the market with the greatest growth potential. In 2012, three out of four visitors to Canada were American - while this is a remarkable statistic, it is also perplexing considering US arrivals to Canada have declined by 54% since 2000.
While the downturn is attributable to numerous economic and security factors, improved US economic conditions and record high passport ownership have created the perfect time to reengage the US leisure travel market. "Let's look at the numbers," said HLT Advisory Managing Director Lyle Hall, "we have more than 100 million Americans holding a passport today, twice the number of ten years ago, yet the total outbound visitation from the US has remained unchanged at between 58 and 62 million trips/ year. Canada offers a familiar, safe and welcoming environment for this market." To seize this opportunity TIAC is proposing Connecting America, a government co-investment in a strategically-designed and nationally-aligned marketing campaign.
TIAC's goal is to reach the world average visitor growth rate of 5% - increasing American visitation will go far in helping us achieve this goal. If we are successful, by 2020 it could mean an additional $5 billion in spending and $1.7 billion in tax revenue.