June 17, 2019
Tourism is thriving in Canada, bringing in record numbers of international visitors in 2017 and 2018, and the federal, provincial and territorial governments are collaborating on shared opportunities to unlock the visitor economy. This will help position Canada as a top tourism destination in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Today, the Honourable Geoff MacLellan, Nova Scotia Minister responsible for Tourism Nova Scotia, host of this year's Canadian Council of Tourism Ministers (CCTM), concluded a productive meeting of Canada's tourism ministers in Halifax. The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, was represented by Guylaine Roy, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie.
The CCTM is taking place at an important time, as governments across the country are launching their own tourism strategies. Ministers and senior officials discussed shared goals for the tourism sector, including spreading the benefits of tourism to communities across the country, increasing visitation outside of the peak tourism season, and developing compelling new experiences and products.
They discussed how the visitor economy, as an economic generator, has the ability to transform communities—large and small, urban and rural, Indigenous and non-Indigenous—from coast to coast to coast, and in the process create good jobs. Tourism is also the largest employer of youth and a major source of employment for new Canadians and permanent residents.
Ministers and senior officials discussed the importance of shared leadership and whole of government approaches to addressing challenges such as labour shortages and visitor dispersion.
In addition, they heard from industry leaders on the future of Canada's tourism sector from domestic and international perspectives and strategies to address the key challenges.
In 2018, Canada experienced a second consecutive record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming over 21 million tourists for the first time ever. With over $100 billion in total spending by tourists last year, the tourism sector is a vital part of the Canadian economy, supporting 1.8 million jobs.
“It’s been a pleasure to host our tourism colleagues from across the country here in Nova Scotia where tourism is a key pillar of government’s inclusive economic growth strategy. Last year was our best tourism revenue year on record and we welcomed 500,000 more visitors than just five years ago. Nova Scotia has a solid export tourism growth strategy in place that aligns nicely with the new federal tourism strategy. I am confident in the opportunities that exist for us to work with our federal, provincial and territorial partners to advance our collective goals.”
– The Honourable Geoff MacLellan, Nova Scotia Minister of Business and Minister responsible for Tourism Nova Scotia
“Tourism is a strong economic driver that helps every part of the country—both rural and urban—by creating good jobs for middle class families. And we’ve seen many examples of communities transforming and diversifying their economies through tourism. In 2018, Canada welcomed over 21 million international tourists—a new record! While this is an exciting time for our tourism sector, there is more we can do to fully unlock its potential. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues on our common goals, such as diversifying and expanding Canada’s tourism products and experiences, to maximize the sector’s year-round potential from coast to coast to coast.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie
Northwest Territories will be the new co-chair of the CCTM and will host the next meeting in 2020.
Tourism is Canada’s largest service export and represents more than 2% of our GDP.
Tourism supports more than 1.8 million jobs in Canada, with 56% of those being in rural areas.
In the past year, Canada, British Columbia, Manitoba and Yukon have all released new tourism strategies.
Total tourism revenues in 2018 from domestic and international travellers were $102.1 billion, an increase of 5.2% over 2017.
In 2018, Canada welcomed a record 21.1 million international tourists, surpassing the previous year’s record of 20.9 million by 1.2%.
One in three international visitors to Canada are interested in Indigenous tourism experiences.
Tourism Nova Scotia
Office of the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada