Tourism is an important sector in the Canadian economy , with the industry proving particularly profitable in 2017. It seems that tourists have been both taking longer trips and spending more money while in Canada.
“The tourism industry is important because it creates many jobs in the region both from the perspective of owners and operators, but also the thousands of jobs that are created in running these establishments. The tourism industry is also important in diversifying the economy. The tourism industry is also important in diversifying the economy,” said Dr. Fennell, Professor in the Department of Geography & Tourism Studies at Brock University.
In Canada, there are over 200,000 businesses related to the tourism sector. Tourism provides 1.8 million jobs, employs the most youth and accounts for two per cent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is also encouraging entrepreneurship in Canada.
According to Statistics Canada, international tourism in Canada reached an all-time high in 2017 with 20.8 million people visiting Canada. The previous record was set back in 2002 when 20.1 million visitors were recorded.
The visitors in 2017 came from all over the world. The numbers of travellers from North America, Central America and the Caribbean combined increased by 26.1 percent from the previous year. In addition, there were 19 per cent more visitors from South America.
Mexico and Brazil were two countries that provided one of the most visitors from the Americas. Tourists from the United States accounted for 14.3 million of the visitors, which is a 3.1 per cent increase from the previous year.
Many individuals travelled to Canada for the Canada 150 celebrations. In addition, lifting the visa requirements for Mexican Citizens, modifying the visa requirements for Brazilians, introducing new electronic travel authorization (eTA) and adding new flight routes to Canada have made visiting easier for many travelers. There has been a seven per cent increase in flight capacities from 2016.
To continue to grow Canada’s tourism sector the government has put in place two major initiatives.
Currently, about five per cent of the Canadian population has Chinese ancestors. Mandarin and Cantonese are the most spoken languages in Canada after English and French. China is also the second largest trading partner that Canada has, behind the U.S. As a result, back in September of 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared 2018 the Canada- China Year of Tourism. The goal with this project was to increase the number of Chinese visitors to Canada, as a way to start working on Canada’s goal to double the number of Chinese visitors by 2021. This goal is one of the many Canada has developed for their new tourism vision.
To continue growing the tourism industry in Canada a 20-point government-wide plan has been developed. Some of the goals of the plan include increasing the number of international tourists to Canada by 30 per centby 2021 and being in a competitive position for a top 10 destination ranking by 2025. They also want to grow culinary and indigenous tourism.
Niagara Falls, in particular, had a very profitable 2017. 14.5 million people visited Niagara Falls last year, 3.4 million hotel rooms were booked, and the Hornblower Cruise line in Niagara Falls had more than 2.3 million riders.
“Niagara’s strength continues to be Niagara Falls because of its history and base of attractions. It attracts a tremendous number of tourists from a large number of different countries. Our wine tourism industry is a strength, as is golf tourism and of course casinos and gaming,” said Fennell.
The success of tourism in Niagara was mainly attributed to their marketing campaign and the live American talk show that was hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa in Niagara Falls last year. The talk show showcased a lot of the great things there are to do in the Niagara region.
In order to make this year equally as succeful, the City Council has granted the Niagara Falls Tourism marketing campaign $300,000. The hope is that, like last year, this will encourage other contributions from the provincial and federal governments as well.