Reasons to Hope: Driving Tourism Demand
It has been just over four months that Canada has been under COVID-19 lockdown. With borders closed and physical distancing measures in place across the country, it is nearly impossible to overstate how devastating this pandemic has been for the industry.
We are all feeling it. As a CEO within the sector, my team and I are feeling it too.
There is also reason to hope.
Destination Canada’s core mission in response to COVID-19 is to stimulate domestic demand, safely kick-start the industry and to set the stage for an eventual international recovery.
The time is right. Infection rates are slowing. Travel restrictions are starting to ease (for an at-a-glance look at travel restrictions in place across the country see our interactive map here) and our research shows encouraging signs in Canadians’ comfort level in welcoming visitors to their communities.
These are all reasons to feel optimistic, but I’m most proud of how quickly our team at Destination Canada was able to pivot from its original market plans for 2020 which were primarily international, to developing a domestic program that will support recovery starting here at home. Over the next 18 months, Destination Canada will invest $30 million with the provinces, territories and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to support the recovery of the visitor economy in communities across the country.
Each province, in their own time, will assess the best distribution of funds, taking into account local and regional COVID-19 circumstances and all efforts will support Destination Canada’s national brand: Canada. For Glowing Hearts. Concurrently, DC is launching national media and industry partnerships as well as agent training for travel trade.
See our consumer website for early examples of how we are using the domestic program’s theme of Canada Nice to leverage our world-renowned community spirit to encourage Canadians to travel domestically. We are seeing early success with influencer videos tracking well above target (Peter Mansbridge’s video has earned over 2.7M viewers since July 1)
As Rick Mercer said in his rant on why Canadians should be supporting their local tourism businesses:
“...millions of people flock to Canada every year because we’re nice. In fact, according to a leading expert (that would be me), we’re the nicest place on earth. We’re good looking, I know that, we’re super diverse, we’re filled with amazing people doing incredible things, the food is great and so are the adventures ...so the time has come for us to explore our own backyard, and lucky us, it’s an amazing backyard.”
Finally, I would like to personally thank the team at Destination Canada for their incredible resolve to support the tourism sector through these unprecedented times. It gives me hope.
Chair of the Board of Directors, Destination Canada and Co-Founder, Cabot Links
Government of Canada
Ongoing support for the Visitor Economy
We know these are difficult times in the tourism sector with a lot of uncertainty. This page offers an update on Destination Canada’s response as well as industry and government updates and support resources.
Quick Reference Guide - Government of Canada Programs:
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS):
- $962 million additional support fund now available to businesses and communities affected by the pandemic Canada's Regional Development Agencies: Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
- Canada Emergency Business Account
Navigating to the New Normal
We are in uncharted territory as we navigate through the first global pandemic to occur in the age of the smartphone and heightened connectivity. As the destination marketing and research organization for Canada, we have a responsibility to mitigate the impact to our visitor economy through our response and proactive recovery planning.
We are taking a phased approach of Response, Recovery and Resilience. Our COVID-19 Research will inform each of these phases.
We do not know how COVID-19 will unfold. We do not know how long or how deep its impacts will be. But we do know we live in a beautiful country with cultures we cherish and communities we must protect. We have an incredible brand and a resilient industry that can overcome just about anything when we pull together. We must remain positive, pragmatic, and empathetic to the very real, very human things people are going through right now. We can do this. And we will come out the other side braver, smarter, and stronger. Let’s show what we mean by Canada. For Glowing Hearts.