Tourism Industry Association of Canada president says there’s never been concerted effort to market in U.S. on national scale
© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
David Goldstein, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, gives a presentation Wednesday at the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. (TIAPEI) annual conference at Red Shores Race Track and Casino.
When it comes to boosting tourism in Canada, the short-term priority is targeting Americans, says the president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
David Goldstein spoke on behalf of the association Wednesday at the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I.’s annual conference in Charlottetown where he laid out some of his organization’s plans.
Goldstein said Canada was once a global leader in international tourism, but has reached a point where 80 per cent of tourism revenues are from domestic travellers.
“The real issue is that’s
just recirculating money within the Canadian economy,” he said.
There is room for growth with Goldstein saying the global tourism industry grew by five per cent in 2013, while in Canada the increase was 1.5 per cent.
Goldstein said there has never been a concerted effort to market Canada to the U.S. on a national level.
“This is not just about money.”
Americans are still travelling and tourism operators want them to come to Canada, Goldstein said.
“I think they just need a gentle nudge and reminder that we’re still here.”
To help with the campaign to increase U.S. visitation to Canada, TIAC is seeking $35 million over three years from the federal government, which will involve matching funds from the industry.
Goldstein said Canada has some advantages in attracting American tourists, including that they don’t require visas, there is basically an open skies agreement between the two countries and the U.S. economy is recovering.
Marketing efforts shouldn’t be focused on other parts of the world where it’s hard to get to Canada, Goldstein said.
“Let’s start with the market of 128 million passport holders in the U.S. that actually can get here.”
Goldstein said one of the big challenges for TIAC, of which TIAPEI is a member, is defending its own interests to government.
“The big issue is that if we don’t, as a sector, get up off the couch and defend our own interest you can be absolutely certain that other industries will do it for themselves,” he said.
The tourism industry has an advantage over other sectors because of its reach across the country, Goldstein said.
“There isn’t another private sector industry that generates both jobs and businesses in every riding of the country.”