While celebrating Tourism Week in Canada may seem at odds with the realities of the country’s pandemic third wave, Beth Potter believes that now is the ideal time to remind Canadians of the importance of tourism and the nation’s travel industry.
Potter, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), is spearheading this year’s Tourism Week, which runs from May 23 to 30.
“Tourism has been hit extremely hard by the pandemic,” Potter says. “It will be the last industry to recover as Canada and other countries around the world begin to rebound from the economic effects of Covid-19.”
To put the value of the Canadian travel industry in context, it’s worth noting that, pre-pandemic, tourism generated $105 billion in annual revenue, representing 2% of Canada’s GDP. The industry employs nearly 2 million workers, and impacts many other sectors, including retail, transportation, and construction.
In other words, tourism counts.
Tourism Week is a seven-day coast-to-coast-to-coast event to recognize the impact the sector has on every community across the country. This year, the campaign aims to recognize the resilience of the industry through the unprecedented public-health crisis. The Vacay.ca 20 Best Places to Travel in Canada After the Pandemic is a 10,000-word guide that helps consumers plan their 2021 trips.
The Tourism Counts campaign will share stories and remind Canadians about the beauty of our country, the travel opportunities that exist in our own backyards and just beyond, and how we can support the industry this summer and fall.
“We are calling on Canadians to take the 2021 Tourism Pledge to travel in Canada first, when restrictions are lifted. This is an invitation to come together as a country and support our local tourism destinations, businesses, and employees,” Potter says.
In addition to taking the Tourism Pledge, Canadians can do a lot to support local travel partners when conditions permit:
- Choose to travel in Canada — locally, provincially and inter-provincially — when provincial health guidelines allow.
- As best you can, spend a chunk of those pent-up travel dollars in support of Canadian accommodations, attractions, activity providers, restaurants, and wineries. Enjoy yourself and our magnificent country.
- Explore your city or pick another urban centre in your province. Have you really been everywhere and done everything where you live? Make this the summer you paddle-board the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, go boating on Lake Osoyoos, marvel at the Inuit artwork in Qaumajuq in Winnipeg, or visit Pier 21 in Halifax.
- Visit PostcardsFromCanada to send a special postcard. Destination Canada will create, print, and mail a free postcard to help you reconnect with loved ones.
- Get vaccinated. The sooner Canada reaches targeted vaccination rates, the sooner restrictions will be lifted, and our travel lives — and regular lives — will resume.
“From baristas and brewers to designers and festival directors to historians and hotel owners, the richness of our diversity — and the heartbeat of this country — can all be found in Canada’s tourism industry,” notes Marsha Walden, President and CEO, Destination Canada. “Tourism week is a great opportunity to remind Canadians about the impact of our industry — supporting tourism means enhancing the quality of life for all Canadians. Despite the enormous challenges faced by the sector, we have a resilient industry that is ready to welcome Canadians back into our hotels, airplanes, tour buses, museums, restaurants, and beyond, once restrictions are lifted.”