Destination Canada Launches a Multi-Million Dollar International Convention Attraction Fund

Three people looking out at a glass with views of Vancouver's mountains

• New program should inject more than $170 million into the Canadian economy

• Funding from the Government of Canada will support eligible Canadian destinations in their bids to host major international business events

Ottawa, ON. March 19, 2024 – Destination Canada is proud to announce the launch of a new, three-year, International Convention Attraction Fund (ICAF or “the Fund”) in a strategic move to bolster Canada’s global competitiveness in attracting major international conventions, conferences, and events to Canada.

The Fund was officially announced late yesterday (during a Working Session of the Ministerial Tourism Council), by the Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Destination Canada President and CEO, Marsha Walden. Federal Ministers responsible for Canada's Regional Development Agencies as well as the Minister responsible for Small Business were present.

Ministerial Tourism Council

The Fund is a major part of an overall $50 million investment from the 2023 Federal Budget and is a key priority of the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy (FTGS).

"Hosting more international events is a central part of our work to help Canadian tourism reach its full potential," said The Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism. "That’s why, as part of the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, Destination Canada is making historic investments to attract more conferences and conventions. These events showcase the best of Canada, extend our tourism season, and attract business people – who typically spend twice as much as leisure travellers. We anticipate that this program will bring in at least $174 million into the Canadian economy. From the Women Deliver Conference to the World AIDS Conference, Canadians are world-class hosts. With fierce competition for these events, this investment will ensure that Canada can contend with the best—and then welcome them."

The ICAF will provide financial commitments for bids on major international conventions. The financial support and backing from Destination Canada will greatly improve each applicant’s chances of winning their respective bids. The awarded financial commitment, eligible up to $1 million CAD, is determined by a pre-established scoring system based on select criteria, demonstrating the value of each bidding opportunity. Using a conservative estimate, ICAF is expected to produce around $3.5 for every dollar invested, generating at least $174M for the Canadian economy.

“We see 2024 as Canada’s year of competitiveness for business events,” said Destination Canada CEO, Marsha Walden. “This is what it takes to compete for the world’s major business events, and win. Business events have immediate benefits for the Canadian economy and the tourism sector today as well as long-term ‘beyond- tourism’ benefits in attracting foreign direct investment, innovative businesses, and new talent in high-growth sectors that are critical to Canada’s future economy.”

"ICAF demonstrates Canada's commitment to fostering economic prosperity, innovation, and connectivity," said President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Beth Potter. "Through this initiative, we're not just inviting the world to our doorstep; we're showcasing Canada as the premiere destination for global thought leadership and industry advancement. This is an opportunity to catalyze growth, inspire job creation, and secure a prosperous future for all Canadians by welcoming the global community to exchange ideas, forge partnerships, and celebrate the pioneering spirit that defines our nation."

"International business events are crucial for Canadian hotels, driving high-yield business travel and occupancy during shoulder seasons,” said President and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada, Susie Grynol. “The International Convention Attraction Fund will bolster Canada's capacity to host major conferences and conventions, solidifying our position as a premier global destination.”

The ICAF represents Canada's commitment to driving sectoral growth, advancing national priorities, and ensuring the country remains an attractive destination for major international business events.

For more information on ICAF or to request an interview, please contact

Notes to Editors:

Who is eligible for ICAF funding?

Canadian Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) putting together a bid for an eligible major international convention may apply.

DMOs must have an international business events attraction strategy, which includes the following key components: hosting infrastructure and facilities, marketing and promotion, dedicated financial and human resources, and industry collaboration.

The international convention under consideration must:

  • Fall within one of Destination Canada’s six priority sectors – advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, life sciences, natural resources, digital industries and finance/insurance – and/or align with a Canadian federal government mandate, objective or initiative
  • Produce well-documented economic benefits for host regions
  • Qualify as a “citywide” event by attracting a pre-defined minimum number of delegates, proportional to the size of the city, its infrastructure and facilities

Destination Canada encourages events aligning with at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as this may constitute additional support for DMOs aiming to leverage the event to achieve meaningful, long-term outcomes and potential legacy impacts in the destination.

About Destination Canada

At Destination Canada, we believe that tourism enhances the wealth and wellbeing of Canadians and enriches the lives of visitors. Our mission is to influence supply and build demand for the benefit of locals, communities and visitors through leading research, alignment with public and private sectors, and marketing Canada nationally and abroad.

​Knowing that diversity is our greatest asset, we promote Canada as a premier four-season leisure and business tourism destination around the country and world in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States.

In addition, our Business Events team leverage in-depth global market analysis to target international clusters aligned with Canada's priority economic sectors.

Destination Canada is a Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Canada.