As the U.S. dollar strengthens against the loonie, a big business opportunity presents itself: tourism.
Travel and tourism is one of the few truly national industries that generates business in every region across the country. While often associated with seasonal jobs, attractions, and tours, it is a vitally important industry coast to coast.
According to the World Trade & Tourism Council, tourism in Canada contributed $41.8 billion to the country’s GDP in 2017, with that number expected to rise to $56.1 billion by 2028. The industry supports 1.6 million direct and indirect jobs in Canada, making up 8.6 per cent of the total employment numbers in the country.
An often-overlooked aspect of the industry is the important role that business events (meetings, conventions, conferences, and congresses) have on the Canadian economy. These events provide a significant economic and long-term legacy on the host city or community. According to Loren Christie, director of sales, Canada & International Congress, at Tourism Toronto, last year Toronto hosted 951 meetings and events that brought 400,000 delegates that generated spending of $634 million into the local economy.
Ambassador programs are becoming more common across the country, where convention bureaus and local communities partner with top thinkers, innovators, and researchers to bring international meetings to cities to build on their global reputation, promote innovation, and leave a legacy of social and economic benefits. In an aim to attract these important meetings, destinations across the country are shifting their emphasis to intellectual assets to make it a more attractive destination to a meeting planner in a particular sector.