(OTTAWA) – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (Saanich – Gulf Islands), issued the following statement on World Tourism Day: “Tourism is an essential economic sector, employing the largest number of people globally. In Canada, tourism employs around 600,000 people and accounts for about $78.8 billion of economic activity.
“Unfortunately, Stephen Harper has continuously undermined the tourism sector. Due to his changes, Canada is now only the 10th best destination to visit, according to a 2015 World Economic Forum report.
“Canadians deserve better from the federal government, which is why the Green Party has a clear plan to improve Canada’s international reputation. We must:
· Increase funding to the arts, culture, and heritage sector;
· Restore tourism advertising in the U.S., as well as the GST-HST rebate for foreign visitors; and
· Ensure that enacted border security measures are reasonable.
“On behalf of the Green Party of Canada, I call on the federal government to recommit our support for tourism and highlight what makes Canada the great place to live.”
Bruce Hyer, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada (Thunder Bay – Superior North), continued:
“We are fortunate to live in one of the world's most beautiful countries. When we share it effectively, we receive visitors who take little but pictures, and leave economic benefits.
“Tourists export photographs and leave money, while the Harper Conservatives would rather export polluting raw crude oil. Tourism investments reap benefits to both tourists and Canadians. The potential is huge, but under Stephen Harper, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has had its advertising budget steadily reduced, and even those reduced investments came after the summer season.
“Bringing tourists from around the world must involve cooperation between four entities. The CTC needs to market Canada, the provinces need to market their distinct attractions, as do the regional tourism associations. The individual tourism businesses need help in marketing, and in assisting with capital to upgrade facilities to a world class level.”