Industry Canada

Industry Canada

December 04, 2006 16:50 ET

Canada's Tourism Ministers to Work Together for a Stronger Tourism Industry

GATINEAU, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 4, 2006) - Canada's tourism ministers agreed today to work together with industry to encourage a healthy tourism sector, and to make Canada a more attractive destination for Canadian and international travellers.

The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, and Ms. Francoise Gauthier, Quebec's Minister of Tourism, co-chaired the meeting in Gatineau, Quebec, where they agreed with provincial and territorial tourism ministers on a National Tourism Strategy framework. The result will be more cooperative approaches to address key challenges facing this industry, which now has annual revenues of more than $60 billion.

Minister Bernier recognized the importance of the tourism industry to Canada and emphasized the tremendous opportunities to come that will benefit the sector, such as the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler. "The games provide a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Canada to show the world what we have to offer. By working together, we can ensure that tourism and other industries reap the rewards of a successful hosting for years to come," Minister Bernier said.

Minister Gauthier emphasized the need to coordinate efforts to implement the National Tourism Strategy and provide a coherent and focused image of Canada. "This meeting has allowed us to adopt a common position on expanding Canada's international appeal and highlighting major events, such as Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations in 2008," said the Minister.

British Columbia's Minister of Tourism, Sport and the Arts, the Honourable Stan Hagen, also noted that in 2008, the province will celebrate its 150th anniversary as a colony.

The ministers agreed to establish a committee of senior officials to develop an action plan to implement the Strategy. The committee will also focus on analyzing the investments which each order of government is making towards the effective implementation of the Strategy's priorities.

Tourism ministers also discussed challenges that the industry is facing, such as the new border security measures being introduced by the United States under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). The U.S. initiative will come into effect for air travel on January 23, 2007. The WHTI will not come into effect for travel by land and sea for at least another year. Canada's New Government and provincial and territorial governments are working to ensure that legitimate trade and travel across our borders are not interrupted as a result of these new rules. Ministers agreed to work cooperatively with the industry to address the new U.S. border requirements.

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, helped lead the WHTI discussions. "The Government of Canada continues to work closely with the provinces and territories on WHTI. We will also continue working with our U.S. counterparts to ensure that we get it right and that there is no negative impact on the flow of traffic across the air, land and sea borders."

Provincial and territorial ministers expressed the need for a GST exemption for tour operators and conventions. Minister Bernier agreed to convey this concern to his Cabinet colleagues.

The ministers will meet again next spring to examine progress regarding the action plan for the Strategy, and to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the tourism industry.

For more information on the National Tourism Strategy, go to http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/tourism.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
    Minister of Industry
    Isabelle Fontaine
    613-995-9001
    or
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations
    613-943-2502
    or
    Office of the Tourism Minister of Quebec
    Jack Roy
    Press Secretary
    418-528-8063