KELOWNA, B.C. — The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie wrapped up a week-long listening tour in Kelowna, B.C. last week. The tour was the minister’s first opportunity to engage with a wide selection of people working in Canada’s travel-and-tourism industry and hear their ideas and experiences to help develop a new federal tourism strategy.
Minister Joly began her tour in Niagara Falls, Ont., where she announced the creation of the Advisory Council on Jobs and the Visitor Economy. The council will help identify important issues facing the tourism sector in Canada, as well as recommend new ways of increasing Canadian tourism opportunities and competitiveness globally.
The tour continued with a series of roundtables with local tourism officials in Winnipeg and Churchill, Man.; Rankin Inlet, Nunavut; and Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna, B.C. Minister Joly also met with front-line tourism-industry workers — from staff and guests at a local restaurant popular among Winnipeg’s Filipino community to Inuit artists in Rankin Inlet to entrepreneurs who welcome tourists in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.
The Minister also announced nearly $2-million in funding to support tourism-related projects in northern Manitoba and Nunavut’s Kivalliq region during her stops in Churchill and Rankin Inlet. These investments are intended to help create middle-class jobs in the tourism sector of both regions and increase local capacity to welcome visitors from around the world.
In Nunavut, the funding will support the expansion and modernization of three co-op hotels, as well as the revitalization of Thule Qammaqs (sod houses) archeological sites near the hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet.
“Indigenous tourism has grown significantly in the last decade and there are unique opportunities to promote it as a cornerstone of Canada’s tourism brand,” says Minister Joly. “By working in partnership with Inuit in the Kivalliq, we are able to support these hotel renovations and cultural mapping to keep up with the increased needs of visitors in these communities.”
In Northern Manitoba, more than $935,000 in funding will support 19 tourism-related projects, including a sailing tour featuring Churchill, the Canadian Arctic and Greenland; and Merit Motion Pictures’ National Geographic-supported documentary, March of the Polar Bears.