- Increase tourism revenues by 25% (to $128 billion)
- Increase the number of jobs directly related to tourism by 7.3% (54,000 new jobs)
- Grow the visitor economy at a rate that outpaces growth in the national economy
- Increase the number of international arrivals in the winter and shoulder seasons by over 1 million
- Increase tourism spending outside of Canada's three largest cities and their surrounding areas
In 2018, Canada welcomed a record 21.1 million international arrivals, surpassing the previous year's record of 20.9 million by 1.2% (Figure 14.1). The share of arrivals from countries other than the United States also reached an all-time high of 32%, up from 19% in 2002. The 2017-18 winter and shoulder season (November 2017 to April 2018) saw 6.6 million international arrivals, up 0.2 million from the previous season (Statistics Canada, 2019).
Tourism is a pillar of the Canadian economy, generating total annual revenues on the order of $100 billion (Figure 14.2), directly supporting over 700,000 jobs (Figure 14.3) and accounting for 2% of GDP (Statistics Canada, 2019). The sector's footprint is virtually everywhere, underpinning businesses and not-for-profits in every province, territory, and city, as well as many small communities. In fact, 56% of tourism jobs are in rural Canada. Tourism is also Canada's largest service export, valued at over $22 billion in 2018 and close to 20% of all service export revenues.
Announced in May 2019, Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, recognizes the high potential of tourism and sets out a whole-of-government approach to sustainably grow Canada's tourism sector for the benefits of all Canadians by addressing structural barriers and helping unlock investment. To make this happen the new strategy will stimulate and diversify Canada's tourism products and experiences, adopt a collaborative public-private sector model for tourism investment and raise the profile and performance of Canada's tourism sector as a key economic driver through federal leadership. To determine how well this strategy is performing, the government has set targets through to 2025 focused on spending by tourist of goods and services, number of jobs, tourism GDP growth, off-season visits and tourism spending outside Canada's top three largest cities.