$16 Billion Ontario Tourism Gap Requires a Dedicated Government Strategy: Brighton-Cramahe, Trent Hills, Port Hope & District, Northumberland Central Chambers of Commerce
Lost Revenue From The Province’s Tourism Industry Impacting Job Creation and Growth
Northumberland County, November 17, 2016: Today, the four Northumberland County Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has released new data that reveals a significant tourism opportunity gap when compared to international growth rates. According to the organization’s report, Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario, Ontario has foregone nearly $16 billion in visitor spending between 2006 and 2012 by not keeping up with global growth trends. While this year has been a strong year for tourism in Ontario, it is important that this recent growth is translated into long-term, sustainable gains in tourism visitation.
“This past spring we participated in the government consultation with tourism stakeholders to develop a long-term tourism strategy for the province,” said Jeff Hamilton, Chair of the Trent Hills Chamber of Commerce. “It is our hope that the solutions identified in this report are incorporated into this tourism strategy that is currently being developed by the government. Attracting global visitors to Ontario is vital to the economic prosperity of the seven municipalities in Northumberland that rely on visitor spending.”
“We are confident that as the government creates their plan to close the gap, they will find the recommendations in the OCC report useful,” said Sherry Hamilton, Manager, Brighton-Cramahe Chamber of Commerce. “Tourism affects a number of other sectors and for that reason has the potential to provide economic benefit on a wider scale with proper investment.
The report identifies a number of challenges faced by tourism operators and the broader tourism community in Ontario, while presenting a series of action items to address them. The four Northumberland Chambers of Commerce are encouraged that the government is moving ahead with an action plan for the province’s tourism industry, a key consideration highlighted by its membership.
The Chambers of Commerce report is clear about the need for any provincial strategy to include measurable targets, a practice currently employed by many successful tourism destinations. These targets would help to organize and coordinate tourism activities amongst the diverse group of public and private tourism organizations in Ontario, another key recommendation of the report.
“Ontario’s tourism sector needs a dedicated strategy driven by the provincial government that not only promotes tourism within Ontario, but also focuses on drawing in visitors from around the world,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “If we can do this successfully, the province will achieve substantial economic gains while keeping up with global growth trends.”
To produce this report, the OCC convened a group of Ontario’s leading thinkers within the tourism community. The report builds on previous initiatives undertaken by members of the tourism industry and further substantiates the need for a focused and measured approach targeted towards supporting the future of tourism in Ontario.