Canada’s natural beauty has been sought out and appreciated by Canadians and visitors alike for a long time and today tourism remains an important driver of our regional and national economies.
Canada’s government launched the federal tourism strategy in 2011 establishing a coordinated approach to position Canada as a premier destination and the results of the strategy speak for themselves.
In 2014, tourism revenues in Canada reached $88.5 billion, an increase of nearly five per cent compared to 2013. Most importantly, the tourism industry accounts for nearly 628,000 jobs in Canada including thousands here in the Okanagan- Shuswap. Last year, over 16 million visitors came to discover and experience our destinations, from coast to coast to coast. With a nine per cent increase in overnight trips from overseas markets, 2014 was a good year.
Tourism’s growth has seen an increase in visitors from emerging markets like China, India and Mexico.
According to the Reputation Institute, Canada is one of the top countries in the world to visit, to live or to study in, but also the best country for attending conferences or organizing events and this has also grown tourism.
Our reputation is not just a concept: achieving results in a complex and competitive marketplace requires continued outreach and state of the art marketing campaigns that our government continues to invest in.
In addition to continued investment in the infrastructure that brings visitors to our region, new investments from the Canadian Tourism Commission in emerging markets have led to tangible results.
In the first four months of 2015, overnight trips to Canada by international visitors grew by 5.7 per cent compared to the same period last year. Comparatively, the United Nations World Tourism Organization most recent forecasts have predicted a three to four per cent growth in world tourist arrivals in 2015. Indeed, we are on the right track.
I wish you a safe and prosperous summer season.