CANADA TO BOOST TOURISM NUMBERS

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The government of Canada has unveiled its New Tourism Vision, a 20-point plan that aims to increase the number of international tourists coming to the country by 30 percent by 2021. As part of this plan, the government has set an even higher target for the Chinese market, with plans in place to double the number of Chinese tourists coming to Canada over the next four years.

If these targets are met, Canada would be back on track to be one of the top most visited countries in the world by 2025. Canada’s Minister of Small Businesses and Tourism, Bardish Chaggar revealed government’s strategy at the Rendez-vous Canada trade show held in Calgary on May 11, 2017.

For many would-be tourists, the product is already in place. The New York Times, Lonely Planet and much more have recognized Canada as the top international destination for 2017. Canada is world-renowned for its beautiful landscapes, bustling cities, welcoming culture, and international festivals. Add to that a world-class culinary scene, a stable and secure environment. It is little wonder that tourism numbers to the country have risen over the last few years.

In 2015, the number of international visitors to Canada grew by 7.5 percent to reach 17.8 million. In 2016 alone, the country welcomed nearly 20 million tourists, a further increase of 11 percent. At this rate, an overall increase of 30 percent between now and 2021 is within reach.

Quite how the country will get those visitors here is everybody’s guess. Through the New Tourism Vision, the government will increase funding for marketing, support the renewal of products and services already on offer, and make Canada easier to access for international travelers.

The Minister Chaggar is quoted as saying “through our government’s New Tourism Vision, we have a clear plan to build on this success and showcase our beautiful landscapes, incredible experiences and unique culture to the world.

In addition to Chinese visitors, the government will fund marketing exercises targeting American visitors. As Canada’s neighbor, the U.S. leisure market already accounts for 70 percent of overnight visitors to Canada and is Canada’s single largest source of international tourists.

Furthermore, other practical changes that are well underway include expanding the Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) system to new markets, recently, eligible Brazilians, Bulgarians, and Romanians can benefit from the visa-exempt system, and Mexican nationals are now required to obtain an eTA before flying to Canada, rather than a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

In addition, Canada is expanding its network of visa application centers (VACs). In China, for example, Canada will open seven new Visa Application Centres, doubling the current number. These new VACs will help to increase the numbers of visitors from China during the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism.

Apart from American citizens and a select few other individuals, visitors to Canada require either an eTA or a TRV before boarding their flight to Canada.

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