Team­ing up for tourism

A $24.5M ef­fort will pro­mote At­lantic Canada as a top travel des­ti­na­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE -

Ot­tawa and the At­lantic prov­inces are team­ing up with in­dus­try to spend $24.5 mil­lion over three years on tout­ing At­lantic Canada as a top travel des­ti­na­tion.

In­no­va­tion Min­is­ter Navdeep Bains said Tues­day es­ti­mates based on busi­ness cases sug­gest the plan could de­liver big re­turns.

“This investment is so crit­i­cal be­cause it’s go­ing to help gen­er­ate $200 mil­lion in ex­port rev­enue for At­lantic tourism busi­nesses over the next three years, add 200 new busi­nesses to the sec­tor and cre­ate 6,000 new jobs,” he told a news con­fer­ence as At­lantic pre­miers and fed­eral min­is­ters met in western New­found­land.

Ot­tawa will pro­vide about $11.4 mil­lion as the four At­lantic prov­inces and lo­cal tourism in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions chip in the rest.

The project will tar­get va­ca­tion mar­kets in the U.S., the United King­dom, China and Ger­many.

“We need to make sure that peo­ple rec­og­nize this can be a great des­ti­na­tion for them and their fam­i­lies,” said Nova Sco­tia Premier Stephen McNeil.

“There are things that we will do in­di­vid­u­ally as prov­inces, but I think we do bet­ter when we mar­ket this re­gion col­lec­tively.”

Rob Moore, the Con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion critic for At­lantic Canada, pointed out that the At­lantic Canada Tourism Part­ner­ship and the At­lantic Canada Agree­ment on Tourism have boosted the re­gion in­ter­na­tion­ally since 1994.

“This is sim­ply, for the most part, a re­newal of that pro­gram,” he said of Tues­day’s an­nounce­ment. “They’ve re­named it.”

Moore said the re­gion re­lies dis­pro­por­tion­ately on a sea­sonal in­dus­try worth about $5 bil­lion a year and the equiv­a­lent of 57,000 full-time jobs, ac­cord­ing to the At­lantic Canada Agree­ment on Tourism web­site.

“I worry about the cen­tral­iza­tion of de­ci­sion-mak­ing un­der this govern­ment,” he said in an in­ter­view. Moore noted that Bains, a min­is­ter from On­tario, also over­sees the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency — a port­fo­lio tra­di­tion­ally held by an At­lantic Cana­dian.

“We’re look­ing for the 32 At­lantic Lib­er­als to stand up more for the re­gion.”

Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Ahmed Hussen also told the news con­fer­ence a pi­lot project an­nounced last year to in­crease im­mi­gra­tion to At­lantic Canada is work­ing. More than 200 can­di­dates have been en­dorsed to ap­ply for per­ma­nent res­i­dence and more than 400 em­ploy­ers can now re­cruit im­mi­grants for job open­ings, he said.

Hussen an­nounced a new ser­vice team of 12 fed­eral work­ers to help cut through red tape.

“This team will help em­ploy­ers, pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments and can­di­dates them­selves to nav­i­gate the im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem. They will an­swer in­quiries in real time, and they will also be able to do some outreach and pro­mo­tion work.”

“We need to make sure that peo­ple rec­og­nize this can be a great des­ti­na­tion for them and their fam­i­lies. There are things that we will do in­di­vid­u­ally as prov­inces, but I think we do bet­ter when we mar­ket this re­gion col­lec­tively.” Nova Sco­tia Premier Stephen McNeil

AN­DREW VAUGHAN/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Fed­eral Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Navdeep Bains, Fish­eries Min­is­ter Do­minic Le­Blanc and Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Lawrence Ma­cAulay, left to right, wait for an of­fi­cial pho­to­graph at the start of an At­lantic growth strat­egy meet­ing in Steady Brook, N.L., on Tues­day.

AN­DREW VAUGHAN/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Prince Ed­ward Is­land Premier Wade MacLauch­lan ar­rives for the start of an At­lantic growth strat­egy meet­ing in Steady Brook, N.L., on Tues­day.

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