OTTAWA — With provinces advancing their re-opening plans, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has launched a broad, industry-developed recovery campaign seeking sector-specific government support to ensure Canada has a tourism industry post-pandemic.
“Canada’s visitor economy was the first-hit and hardest-hit industry from the COVID-19 pandemic and will be one of the last to recover. That’s why we’ve done the important work to put together a very detailed plan to present to government on what they can do to help support this important sector now and in the months to come to ensure that our industry is able to recover,” says Charlotte Bell, president and CEO of TIAC. “Tourism and travel accounts for over 1.8-million jobs in Canada — that’s nearly one in every 10. Since the onset of the pandemic, over 800,000 jobs in our sector have been lost and many will never return without critical recovery support.”
The tourism-recovery plan outlines recommendations and proposals for government that span from immediate to longer-term proposals.
“The tourism sector will not rebound as quickly as other sectors,” explains Bell. “The federal government has spent a considerable amount of energy investing in growing our sector before the onset of the virus, including rolling out a new Tourism Growth Strategy in the 2019 federal budget and appointing tourism as Canada’s 7th Economic Strategy Table. Canada cannot afford to lose the tourism industry.”
The association stresses that, while current support measures are welcomed and appreciated, they all have expiry dates that will not meet the unique situation of the sector long-term.
TIAC has launched a broad, industry-developed recovery proposal that seeks sector-specific government support to ensure Canada has a tourism industry post-pandemic.
All of TIAC’s recommendations fall into five core themes, including:
- Championing Safety – ensuring coordinated regulatory efforts to develop a climate of public safety and help fund costs for new health-and-safety requirements
- Sustaining Liquidity & Supporting Solvency – ensuring the sector is positioned to survive the next two to 24 months, at present, many businesses are at risk of closing
- Enticing Canadians to Travel – positive messaging, when appropriate, reassuring people it is
safe to travel
- Repositioning Canada’s Visitor Economy – to re-emerge a stronger and more cost-competitive global tourism competitor
- Supercharging the Canadian Economy – fast tracking growth capital
“Without tourists or local visitors, the tourism industry has ground to a complete halt and the industry’s more than 200,000 businesses are facing a dire situation as we enter what should have been the start of Canada’s peak-tourism season,” adds Bell. “While programs like the CEWS and the CERB have been helpful, long-term liquidity is key because most of our sector’s businesses are losing out on an entire year’s worth of revenue that is typically earned during the peak-travel season between May and September. The recently announced $70 million for tourism in redirected funds to support domestic marketing initiatives and a number of regional destination-marketing organizations is a step in the right direction. Our recovery proposal launched today outlines the additional support needed for long-term recovery of the sector.”
The almost total halt of tourism activity resulting in massive job losses, hotel closures and precipitous cancellations of events of all kinds will stretch for years to come.
“We’re ready to engage in meaningful dialogue with government on how we can collaborate on reopening the visitor economy and ensure support for a recovery period that will last longer for this sector,” says Bell.
The full document is available here.