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Tourism to Canada has dropped 20 percent

By on March 25, 2014

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest-growing businesses, yet the number of international travellers to Canada has declined 20 percent since 2000, according to a report from Deloitte & Touché. Canada’s tourism industry is struggling to compete as the global travel business undergoes unprecedented change.

The tourism sector has, unfortunately, gone unrecognized by government to drive growth, says the report, compiled by Deloitte partners Ryan Brain, Tom Peter and Lorrie King, based on Statistics Canada numbers. Tourism employed 600,000 Canadians and represents about two per cent of national GDP; the industry is falling behind in attracting the globe’s emerging travellers.

Canada sees only a small share of global international travel arrivals, which passed the one billion mark in 2012, having risen four percent a year over the past 10 years. Canada had 16 million international visitors in 2012, with the largest number from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Australia, according to the Canadian Tourism Association. A steep slide in U.S. visitors, in part because of the high Canadian dollar, has meant lower figures.

Canada was one of the most popular international tourist destinations in 1970, second only to Italy; at that time the Canadian dollar was running at par. In fact, in 1974 it reached a historic high of 1.04. So we have to stop saying the Canadian dollar is the reason. Now we’re in eighteenth position, behind countries like Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.

The Canadian industry needs to learn to tailor its products to travelllers in order to nab a share of tourism spending, which totaled over $1.1 trillion in 2012, the report said.

Deloitte analysis suggests a one percent increase in tourists to Canada generates an $817-million increase in Canadian exports over the following two years.



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