Canada’s tourism industry on verge of crisis


A report due out Monday says the Canadian tourism industry is on the verge of a crisis.

Many things have been blamed for recent downturn of the Canadian tourism industry including gas prices, the high Canadian dollar, the downturn in the U.S. economy, 9-11 and the SARS crisis.

But Randy Williams, the president of the Tourism Association of Canada, said the report — which took a year and a half to create – will put a lot of blame on internal factors within the industry.

“We are suffering from a lot of structural problems within our own industry,” he told CTV Newsnet on Monday. “We’ve been blaming all these external influences for the challenges of our tourism industry and we’ve got to put that behind us.

“Structurally, as an industry we are in trouble because we haven’t been minding the shop.”

He said the report has specified seven areas that the both private tourism operations and the public sector need to improve on.

One of the problems is access to Canada, Williams said. He pointed out that there is a lack of approved destination status with China, open-sky agreements with Europe Union and the Asian-Pacific countries, and logjams at the Canadian border.

He also said Canada is not doing a very good job of promoting itself in emerging markets such as India and Brazil.

“We are not even marketing in those countries and there is a lot of outbound growth there,” he said.

“There is probably enough money in the system to better market Canada but we have to do a better job in both the public and private sector of collaborating and coordinating our efforts.”