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Visitors from outside Canada make tourism
Canada’s fifth-largest earner of foreign exchange after motor vehicles,
auto parts, crude petroleum and newsprint. The bulk of Canada’s tourism
comes from Canadians travelling in and exploring their own country.

Whistler Village
Whistler Village (courtesy Whistler Resort Association/photo by Leanna Rathkelly).


 Tourism is a complete and naturally related collection of services with a single unifying purpose: to provide TRANSPORTATION,
accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment
to Canadians or foreigners travelling in Canada for any purpose. It is
an important and fast-growing industry. Canada’s tourism industry earned
over $44 billion in 1998, representing, directly or indirectly, more
than 10% of the labour force. By the year 2000 it could be one of the
most important single economic activities in Canada. Money spent on
tourism products has a great impact on employment, both directly and
indirectly, that is at least equal to, and in many cases more than,
spending in the nation’s leading 40 industries. Visitors from
outside Canada make tourism Canada’s fifth-largest earner of foreign
exchange after motor vehicles, auto parts, crude petroleum and
newsprint. The bulk of Canada’s tourism comes from Canadians travelling
in and exploring their own country. On the international travel account,
Canada has a falling share of the international market and a
$1.2-billion deficit: Canadians spent $7.5 billion outside Canada.
Catering to tourists in Canada involves many large companies and about
100 000 small and medium-sized businesses, including almost 300 000
hotel and motel rooms, more than 45 000 eating places and 4000 travel
agencies. These businesses serve over 34 million visitors a year. Every
100 000 visitors to a community can mean $9 million in revenue
throughout the local economy.
At the federal level tourism is
the responsibility of the minister of state for small business and
tourism through Tourism Canada in the Department of Regional Industrial
Expansion. The promotion and development of tourism through a designated
federal agency dates from 1934. The recognized national industry
association is the Ottawa-based Tourism Industry Association of Canada
(TIAC). It is an umbrella organization representing private sector
companies, organizations, institutions and individuals engaged in
tourism in Canada and working in partnership with provincial and
territorial tourism-industry associations. TIAC has represented the
Canadian tourism industry for 69 years and exists to lobby government,
to communicate with industry, and to increase public awareness of the
importance of tourism and the need for public support.
dates back to the early history of Canada. Writings by the early
explorers and traders contributed to the growing knowledge of the
Canadian landscape, still the primary attraction of Canada’s tourism
industry (see EXPLORATION AND TRAVEL LITERATURE). From the mid-18th to the early 19th century TOPOGRAPHIC PAINTERS recorded an idealized landscape, scenes that were often reproduced as engravings in travel books published in Europe. The CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY,
through its rail and steamship services, its hotels and publicity
campaigns, attracted affluent European and American tourists to Canada.
Modern travel and the opportunity for mass travel came with the jet
airplane. Business travel illustrates the degree of change: travel and
related expenses are the third-largest expenditure of Canadian business,
after payroll and data-processing expenditures. Canadian companies
spent $3 billion in 1986.
The Canadian tourism industry requires
sophisticated marketing, delivering value and service. Beginning in
1984 Canada experienced a turnaround following 10 years of decline
during which its balance of payments deficit on the international travel
account grew from $300 million to $2.2 billion. Nineteen eighty-six was
an exceptional year: foreign visitors increased 18%. The primary
reasons for this growth were EXPO 86
in Vancouver, a favourable exchange rate with the US, an aggressive
federal government advertising campaign in the US and negative incidents
in other parts of the world which discouraged N Americans from
travelling overseas. The best potential new source for travellers to
Canada is likely in the Pacific Rim countries. Arrivals from Japan and
Hong Kong are expected to show an increase, continuing an upward trend
that started in 1979. Australia remains stable. The US continues to be
Canada’s primary source of visitors; they comprise over 85% of our
tourism market. Traditional European markets, including the UK, France, W
Germany and the Netherlands, are expected to produce moderate growth
over the next few years.
Contemporary Canadian tourist
attractions are often the same as those extolled by early travel writers
– the fjorded coast of BC, the majestic grandeur of the Canadian
Rockies, the wide open spaces of the Prairies, the lakes, forests and
rivers of central Canada, the Atlantic coast in its infinite variety of
bays, coves, beaches and scenic vistas, the arctic environment and
people, and, of course, such old favourites as NIAGARA FALLS.
The works of humans have been added to these natural assets through the
development of modern and sophisticated cities, and through galleries
and museums, performing arts, historic sites, FESTIVALS, and events such as Expo 86, the CALGARY STAMPEDE and winter OLYMPIC GAMES. To most of the world Canada is known as a tourist destination through its scenery, space and environment.



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