Speaker at Business Conference with audience in background
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto.com/portfolio/kasto80

OTTAWA — Destination Canada has launched a new three-year International Convention Attraction Fund (ICAF) to bolster Canada’s global competitiveness in attracting major international conventions, conferences and events to Canada.

The fund was announced last week by the Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec, and Marsha Walden, president and CEO of Destination Canada.

The ICAF is a major part of an overall $50-million investment from the 2023 Federal Budget and is a key priority of the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy (FTGS). It will provide financial commitments for bids on major international conventions. The financial support and backing from Destination Canada will greatly improve each applicant’s chances of winning their respective bids. The awarded financial commitment, eligible up to $1 million is determined by a pre-established scoring system based on select criteria, demonstrating the value of each bidding opportunity. Using a conservative estimate, ICAF is expected to produce around $3.5 for every dollar invested, generating at least $174 million for the Canadian economy.

“Hosting more international events is a central part of our work to help Canadian tourism reach its full potential,” says Ferrada. “That’s why, as part of the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, Destination Canada is making historic investments to attract more conferences and conventions. These events showcase the best of Canada, extend our tourism season, and attract business people – who typically spend twice as much as leisure travellers.”

“We see 2024 as Canada’s year of competitiveness for business events,” says Walden. “This is what it takes to compete for the world’s major business events, and win. Business events have immediate benefits for the Canadian economy and the tourism sector today as well as long-term ‘beyond- tourism’ benefits in attracting foreign direct investment, innovative businesses, and new talent in high-growth sectors that are critical to Canada’s future economy.”

“ICAF demonstrates Canada’s commitment to fostering economic prosperity, innovation, and connectivity,” says Beth Potter, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC). “Through this initiative, we’re not just inviting the world to our doorstep; we’re showcasing Canada as the premiere destination for global thought leadership and industry advancement. This is an opportunity to catalyze growth, inspire job creation, and secure a prosperous future for all Canadians by welcoming the global community to exchange ideas, forge partnerships, and celebrate the pioneering spirit that defines our nation.”

“International business events are crucial for Canadian hotels, driving high-yield business travel and occupancy during shoulder seasons,” says Susie Grynol, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). “The International Convention Attraction Fund will bolster Canada’s capacity to host major conferences and conventions, solidifying our position as a premier global destination.”


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