Posted February 5, 2009
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Tourism & 2009 Budget

Canadian Tourism Commission CEO McKenzie welcomes federal budget news

Increase in funding targets domestic travel and priority international markets

VANCOUVER - Canadians will be encouraged to "Keep exploring" Canada with an increase in funding to the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) outlined in the federal government's budget.

In addition to maintaining the CTC's $76 million funding, the budget document has earmarked $20 million for each of the next two years to expand investment into priority international markets and to encourage Canadians to spend their travel dollars at home.

"We are delighted that tourism is part of the economic stimulus plan and commend the Government of Canada for this strategic investment. Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and development of Canada's tourism sector represents a powerful engine of growth for the whole country," said Michele McKenzie, President and CEO for the Canadian Tourism Commission. The CTC will review its highest potential markets for Canada's tourism industry in order to grow tourism revenues.

McKenzie believes that the new money can be targeted into partnered marketing programs that will effectively increase tourism revenues to the small- and medium-sized businesses that are the backbone of Canada's tourism economy.

"We realize that it's a very competitive market for tourism on a global level, but our "Canada. Keep exploring" brand has successfully resonated in each of the nine global markets in which we operate," said McKenzie. "We look forward to sharing that message with all Canadians to promote the extraordinary travel experiences our country offers. Significant brand recognition for Canada has recently come from the influential Lonely Planet as one of the Top 10 Countries for 2009, and as the second most respected country brand in the world by FutureBrand of New York, NY.

McKenzie believes Canada's tourism brand is strong and presents a concise message to everyone, fitting well with the tremendous excitement that is being generated by the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. "CTC strategy is already looking well past the Games and into a future where Canada is established as the premier tourism destination in the world," McKenzie concluded. "It's important to remember that travel is one of the most resilient industries, quickly recovering from past shocks and one of the first things people want to indulge in when the economic clouds begin to lift. We plan to be ready."

Other tourism-related initiatives in the budget include the creation of a National Trails System, an upgrade to National Parks visitors' facilities such as campgrounds and visitor centres, an upgrade to National Historic Site, and cultural festivals.

© Copyright 2009/Exchange Morning Post/Exchange Business Communications Inc.
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