Just how important is the tourism industry to the overall Canadian economy?
According to Statistics Canada, tourism spending in the country was $43.8 billion in the first half of 2018, up 5.7 per cent from a year ago.
The federal agency reports that domestic revenues rose by 6.4 per cent to close to $34.5 billion while revenue from international travellers was up 3.2 per cent to just over $9.3 billion.
The federal government said that tourism activities in the first half of the year directly accounted for $18.7 billion of Canada’s gross domestic product. That’s an increase of 6.2 per cent over the first half of 2017.
And tourism directly accounted for 733,800 jobs in the first half of 2018, an increase of 1.4 per cent compared to the first half of 2017.
“Tourism is a key part of the Canadian economy and creates good middle-class jobs in every community,” said Mélanie Joly, minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie.
The federal government said that from 2014 to 2017, international arrivals in Canada grew by an average of eight per cent per year, and the tourism sector’s contribution to GDP grew by an average of 4.6 per cent per year.
It said the tourism sector supports 1.8 million jobs across the country and from 2014 to 2017, the number of jobs in Canada’s tourism sector grew by an average of 1.7 per cent per year.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.