OTTAWA — The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMBC) welcomed U.S. President Biden to Canada and took the opportunity to highlight the close relationship the two countries have long maintained with regard to leisure and business tourism in a joint statement.
A statement from the organizations says U.S. visitors are vitally important to Canada’s travel economy. In 2022, a total of 14 million U.S. residents entered Canada, just 56 per cent of the level of 25 million in 2019. Not surprisingly, around 80 per cent of all foreign travellers to Canada come from the U.S.
“Tourism in Canada has long been an important driver for the economy overall, generating more than $105 billion in spending annually pre-pandemic and sustaining close to two million jobs total. Prior to COVID-19, one in 10 workers in Canada had a job in tourism and the sector accounted for two per cent of Canada’s total GDP,” says the statement.
The statement goes on to say that “more than its economic might, tourism also fosters social cohesion and is a prime vehicle for promoting Canada’s ideals as a country on the world stage.
MMBC’s key focus and mission is to communicate the important social and economic impact of the business-events sector, mirroring similar initiatives of its U.S. counterpart. This sector, which includes conferences, conventions, trade shows, symposiums and other business gatherings, is a very significant part of the joint travel economics, and in Canada represented $41 billion in spending pre-pandemic (or about 40 per cent of all tourism spending) and supported hundreds of thousands of jobs. Equally important are the social impact that meetings and business events bring to communities across the country and the capacity of the sector to help attract direct foreign investment.
However, the number of international business events that took place in Canada in 2022 was only at 55 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. The future booking pace five years out is now only at 47 per cent. Due to a number of factors, including the long planning cycle for such events, it is expected that this important sector will be the very last of all tourism sectors in Canada to recover.
TIAC and MMBC encourage Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden to work collaboratively to help strengthen even further our bilateral relationship in tourism.”