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Friday,  May 24, 2024 4:18 AM 

Canadian tourism beats pre-COVID levels early, but challenges remain

  • Buzz
  •   12-12-2023  9:51 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Canadian tourism beats pre-COVID levels early, but challenges remain
Banff, Alberta. (Unsplash/Louis Paulin)
Pax Global Media

Canada’s total tourism revenue is set to exceed 2019’s level, generating $109.5 billion by the end of 2023, according to new outlook report from Destination Canada.

The jump in revenue represents the recovery of the tourism sector from COVID one year earlier than projected.

Despite tourism coming to a standstill in 2020, the industry, post recovery, is expected to grow faster than the general economy at 5.8 per cent, the tourism organization says.

It is, however, important to recognize that recovery both geographically and across sub sectors has been uneven, the organization adds.

“The challenge ahead is creating profitable growth for tourism businesses given their current debt loads and inflationary pressures,” Destination Canada said in a press release Tuesday (Dec. 12).

The report outlines that there is an opportunity for the tourism sector's growth trajectory to reach $160 billion in revenue by 2030, but capacity constraints limit this goal, the organization said.

Without change, tourism will move forward along its long-term trajectory where constraints will limit its potential to $140 billion, which when adjusted for inflation, “shows no real growth.”

"At this critical juncture, we face a clear choice," said Meaghan Ferrigno, Destination Canada's chief data and analytics officer. "The difference between $160 and $140 billion is about more than revenue. It's about unleashing capacity when and where we have it, it's about creating stable employment and enhancing societal wellbeing. And importantly, it's about smart growth that drives real prosperity for tourism businesses across every corner of this country."

Destination Canada is proposing “a transformative approach” to unlock the additional $20 billion in revenue annually by 2030.

The report outlines seven levers that will bolster Canada's competitiveness and address constraints.

These include workforce development, unleashing capacity outside of peak season, attracting higher yield guests, increasing air access, and bolstering new investment and reinvestment to the sector.

"This is a truly pivotal moment for our industry. The opportunity between our transformational growth agenda and the current continuous path is one that we cannot afford to lose. We need to choose collective action to overcome the constraints that hold us back from unlocking the true potential of the tourism sector," said Destination Canada's President and CEO, Marsha Walden. "If we work together, we can achieve what's possible and recapture our position as a top destination for global tourism and create wealth and wellbeing for all of Canada." 

Key highlights

Key highlights from the report include:

Tourism revenue will exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2023: Amid inflationary headwinds, tourism spending will exceed pre-COVID-19 levels in 2023, reaching $109.5 billion. Domestic activity has led revenue recovery and is on track to reach 104% of 2019 levels by the end of 2023.

Opportunities constrained by capacity: As we look to 2024 and beyond, opportunities for growth prevail but challenges persist as we enter a fiercely competitive global marketplace where we are all vying to attract travellers. Demand for travel is projected to grow by 30% by 2030 and will outpace our capacity to host in peak seasons, limiting Canada's growth potential.

$160 billion Potential: The report identifies a $160 billion revenue potential for the tourism industry by 2030, but only if a transformational path is taken that addresses constraints and shifts demand to change how growth occurs.

Closing the $20 billion opportunity gap: Destination Canada proposes a transformative path to secure an additional $20 billion in annual revenue by 2030, driving real prosperity for tourism businesses across the country and contributing a 14% increase in GDP generated by tourism, 84,000 more jobs and $5.3 billion more in tax revenue for all levels of Government.

Transformational path: Industry transformation will close the $20 billion opportunity gap but it will require sector-wide collaboration on seven key levers: revenue and yield growth, brand leadership, investment, access, workforce and digital readiness, environmental sustainability and support from Canadians.

You can download the full report here.

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