Tourism in Canada
Tourism is a vital part of the Canadian economy, providing employment and stimulating economic development in every province. It generates over CAD 100 billion in tourism spending each year, accounting for 2.1 percent of Canada’s GDP and 3.1 percent of total exports. It directly supports 739 700 jobs or 3.9 percent of total employment. In 2018, travel exports accounted for 26.6 percent of overall service exports.
The Federal Government, ten provincial governments, three territorial governments, and various municipalities contribute to Canada’s tourism sector’s success.
Canadian tourism is overseen by the Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.
In 2018, Canada welcomed a total of 21.2 million foreign visitors, an increase of 1.2 percent over 2017. With over 14.7 million visitor arrivals in 2018, the United States is Canada’s largest tourism source market, accounting for over two-thirds of overnight visitors. Tourists from other countries are also present.
The three key policy goals of the Canadian government in the tourism sector are creating jobs, diversifying and disperse tourism offerings, and attracting investment to the sector.
Destination Canada published a report titled Unlocking the Potential of Canada’s Visitor Economy in December 2018 that described the following main challenges facing the tourism sector in Canada:
- Shortage of labour and skilled Growth: Access to skilled labour and skill creation is a challenge, preventing the sector from sustaining long-term business growth.
2. Access: Much of the market is long-haul, and travel to and between Canadian destinations is expensive.
3. Investment: The tourism industry has difficulty obtaining investment and financing, which is an obstacle to the growth of new tourism businesses.