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Stephen Harper

We’ve wasted a lot of years in this country as the Canadian government continually slashed at federal tourism budgets. But rather than be churlish about this, I’m going to congratulate Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Tory government in Ottawa for FINALLY waking up and smelling the visitor numbers. It’s not as much money as tourism folks were asking. The latest releases I saw from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada were talking about $35 million a year from Ottawa for three years. The release they sent out today says Harper has promised $30 million but spread over those same ... continue reading →

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I’ve been saying for years now that the federal government in Ottawa doesn’t understand tourism and doesn’t give it the support it should. Now I see that MP Elizabeth May and TV comedian/pundit Rick Mercer are saying the same thing. Here’s my Globe and Mail blog from Friday, Feb. 20…. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/travel-news/when-will-the-government-give-tourism-the-respect-it-deserves/article23115880/

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They were calling it “the lost decade.” Tourism officials gathered in Toronto last week for the annual Canadian Tourism Marketing Summit. And it wasn’t pretty talk. This country is in desperate need of a new tourism strategy. So far, the Harper government in Ottawa seems oblivious. We thought we were perhaps riding high after the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. But the statistics tell a very sad story. In 2002, Canada ranked eighth in the world in international tourist arrivals, with 19.6 million visitors. That was good for number eight in the world. By 2011, the year after the Vancouver Games, ... continue reading →

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It’s about time. I’ve been arguing for years that Canadian tourism folks are sailing the wrong waters by spending too much time and energy on emerging markets and forgetting the giant next door. Now I’ve got more company. In a press release issued yesterday in advance of next week’s Canadian Tourism Marketing Summit, it was revealed that a survey by HLT Advisory found an incredible 79 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with a proposal to focus increasingly scarce marketing resources on U.S. residents. Only four per cent of folks disagreed with something called the “Connecting America” initiative, ... continue reading →

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