A collaborative approach to innovation is at the heart of the Canadian Tourism Growth Strategy

By: Stephanie Auslander, Destinations International

Canada has begun the process on a new Federal Tourism Strategy post pandemic that aims to build a more resilient tourism industry and work to overcome challenges faced by destinations because of the pandemic. The formal strategy set to be released later this summer will build on the previous strategy referenced inCreating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy” encompassing three key areas; building tourism in Canadian communities, attracting investment into the visitor economy, and renewing the focus on private & public collaboration. The new formal plan seeks to address current challenges including gaps in the labor market, destination development, and ensuring long-term sustainable growth. Prior to the final release of the plan, the federal government is seeking consultation from the Canadian tourism industry across both coasts. Stakeholders are encouraged to share their views on revitalizing the future of Canadians Tourism industry or write in directly to the government by email as the collaboration period remains open through July 20. 

Addressing Challenges: Workforce Development

The New Federal strategy to address challenges will work across tourism stakeholders in businesses, provincial and territorial counterparts, and Indigenous tourism partners to develop a strategy that will seek growth, investment, and stability in the long-term. Tourism industry leaders are concerned with workforce development not just in Canada, but globally as well. Canada is addressing this the gap in labor workforce with the creation of The Future Skills Council comprised of members from public and private labor groups compromised of different geographic and demographic backgrounds. The council has established its members who have an increased knowledge of emerging trends which change the demand for workers in the labor market. Their expertise in creating a more robust workforce focuses on key area pillars including education and training, skilled trades and apprenticeships, gender work issues, inclusive labor market policy, and distinction-based approaches for indigenous populations.  

Through collaboration the council created the report titled “Canada: a learning nationwhich sets an ambitious vision of a dynamic and thriving workforce that fosters equity, diversity, and inclusion and imagines a future that is open to everyone regardless of background. The report has several key priorities which aim to help develop a lifelong development for a skilled and trained resilient workforce. The five priorities encompass helping Canadians make informed workforce labor market choices, equality of opportunity for lifelong learning, development of skills for the Indigenous population, creation of Innovative approaches to skill development, and creating a sustainable future. 

Canada references their intended vision for the future with the following:  

“Imagine Canada in 10 years, where every Canadian has easy access to high-quality information about jobs, skills, and learning opportunities that is personalized to their specific situation. The parents of a 15-year-old in Nunavut, the 45-year-old Toronto worker who just moved to Canada, the Sherbrooke employer looking to grow their business and the Red Deer College administrator who wants to offer programs that help students get jobs quickly. Each can easily find the right data and tools to help them reach goals that are as individual as they are” (Canada: A learning Nation Report, 2020) 

Investment Attraction and Destination Development

Building on the work of the previous tourism strategy released in 2019, destination development continues to be at the forefront of strategic planning for the future. The recently established Canadian Destinations Leadership Council in conjunction with Destinations international is comprised of executives across destination organizations who meet regularly with the intention to focus on strategic next steps on advocacy, policy & resource planning and provide strategic recommendations for how associations can best service its Canadian members. Current members of the council as of May 2022 include Banff & Lake Louise Tourism Bureau, Destination Toronto, Ottawa Tourism, and Tourism Barrie.  

The Federal government intends to increase its investment in the visitor economy through key initiatives that help foster the development of impactful development projects in collaboration with all stakeholders, including federal partners and provincial and territorial partners. The tourism investment groups will be tailored to meet specific needs of the country working to become a more robust partner to these regions. 

Long-term Economic Growth Across the Country

Support for the Canada Tourism Sector is referenced in the Canadian Budget 2022 report which seeks to grow the economy through several key initiatives across the country. A more robust tourism industry is a critical component of the budget for the upcoming year since the industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Regarding the overall spending, the proposed budget provides C$20 million over the 2023 year in support of a new tourism fund to help indigenous people recover from the pandemic and position itself for long-term sustainable growth. In addition, the budget will provide C$4.8 million over the next few years to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to support its operation who will continue to help this sector recover and provide additional funding for increased investment. 

Additional measures to increase the tourism resiliency in Canada include C$1 billion in support of the 2021 program Tourism Relief Fund aimed with the goal of empowering tourism businesses to create or enhance new tourism experiences to attract new visitors with funding to support major festivals and events. Supporting rural communities is another focus, aiming to increase vibrancy, drive economic growth, and assist rural communities through a variety of programs. The expansion of broadband access, the support of rural businesses, the compensation for farmers who are struggling, the funding of agriculture tourism, and the adaptation of wine destinations to the changing climate are some of the things that are being addressed in the plan. Furthermore, Canada has launched a Critical Minerals Strategy Program with the strategy to create jobs across rural communities resulting in an increased quality of life. 

Interested in learning more about Canadian tourism strategy and the benefits to your destination? We look forward to continuing the conversation at Destination’s International’s Annual Convention in Toronto, Ontario on July 19-21, 2022. 

About the Author

Stephanie AuslanderAdvocacy and Data Coordinator

About the Author

Stephanie is a recent graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a Master’s Degree in Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development. Previously, she worked as an Intern with Solimar International assisting Destination Marketing Organizations in formulating Tourism Development strategies for the Samtskhe–Javakheti region in Republic Of Georgia and the Sisian region of Armenia. Additionally, she is the author of a Tourism Research Proposal detailing ways in which Destinations can promote the concept of Sustainability to its consumers for a lasting positive impact. With a background in Tourism Development she is confident in her ability to help Destinations innovate into the future.

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