New research released Tuesday (Nov. 22) from Destination Canada may indicate the full recovery of Canada’s travel economy by as early as 2024, led by the continued strength of the domestic market and the quickly rebounding U.S. market.
But in a release issued today, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) said its “ambitious goals of a full recovery” will take considerable work to achieve.
Speaking Tuesday at the organization’s annual Tourism Congress, a two-day event taking place this year at The Westin Ottawa, TIAC’s Vice-President, Policy and Government Affairs Marc Seguin emphasized to an audience of over 400 delegates that the sector was still a very long way from a full recovery.
In its recent submission to the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault, TIAC set sector goals to be achieved by 2030; which include total tourism spending in Canada at $134 billion, a total tourism labour workforce of 2.5 million workers, and 30 million total annual international overnight visitors, among other key goals.
“We know that there are four key areas where a host of policy actions are needed,” he said, during his Leadership Report that kicked off the Congress’ first day. “TIAC and the member-businesses and organizations we represent are confident our proposed goals are achievable by 2030 if adequate financial resources are earmarked in support of the new (federal tourism growth) strategy…but to get us there, a number of other things need to happen.”
Specifically, Seguin emphasized that the government of Canada should focus redevelopment of the strategy to include policy changes in four key areas:
- Attracting and retaining a sustainable tourism workforce,
- Improving access for visitors to and within Canada,
- Developing and promoting tourism assets, and
- Building a regenerative and inclusive tourism industry.
These “pillars of action” undergird the TIAC’s submission to the government to guide its redeveloped strategy.
In drafting it, Seguin said TIAC consulted extensively with its members, other industry leaders and organizations across Canada.
“Our submission is a well-thought-out plan for how best to help us get to our sector goals by 2030,” he added.
Among other bold ideas proposed to recover the sector, Seguin recommended the creation of a Tourism Policy Council of Ministers, led by the Minister of Tourism himself.
“The strategy’s success rests in all tourism partners rowing in the same direction and never losing sight of our destination,” said Seguin. “But all of the 24 federal departments and agencies now playing a role in tourism must place (these) tourism goals as a top priority. We all need to embrace and reimagine Canada's tourism industry.”
Congress continues tomorrow (Nov. 23) with educational sessions from industry leaders, as well as a “fireside chat” between Seguin and Minister Boissonnault.
"The future looks very promising"
Destination Canada's Fall Tourism Outlook forecasts that despite ongoing challenges, the recovery trajectory for Canada's tourism sector is strengthening.
Leisure travel is now expected to recover to 2019 levels by 2024, considered a remarkable feat, one year earlier than previously forecasted in Spring 2022.
Domestic tourism will continue to lead the sector's recovery, says Destination Canada's research, which says domestic travel market spending is expected to reach 92 per cent of 2019 levels by the end of 2022 and fully recover in 2023.
The recovery of the U.S. market is poised to accelerate in 2023, with spending reaching 91 per cent of 2019 levels as lifted border restrictions and a strong US dollar encourage recovery.
In 2024, spending by U.S. travellers in Canada is expected to reach 112 per cent of 2019 levels. Visits from the U.S. are also projected to reach 82 per cent of 2019 levels in 2023 and fully recover in 2024.
International overnight arrivals reached 61 per cent of 2019 levels over the summer months of 2022. Tourist expenditures and international arrivals are also set to return to a long-term growth trend by 2026.
"This accelerated forecast is the recovery signal we have all been working to achieve. Restarting our industry has been hard on everyone and we still have a long way to go. Over the summer months of 2022, overnight international arrivals reached only 61 per cent of 2019 levels. But the future looks very promising, if we are able to fully capitalize on it," said Marsha Walden, president and CEO of Destination Canada.
"Globally, pent-up demand for travel remains very strong, but we know travellers have many, many choices for places to go. We must ensure Canada becomes a more competitive destination, while also rethinking our approach to tourism to maximize the socio-cultural, economic and environmental benefits the industry can bring to all of Canada."
You can download the Fall Tourism Outlook report here.