The federal government has identified tourism as one of the seven key industries to target for economic growth to create jobs for the middle class, said the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie.
This seventh economic strategy table gives tourism the same stature as other key parts of the Canadian economy, like digital, health, bio-sciences and advanced manufacturing, said Melanie Joly, who was speaking at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday.
She highlighted Budget 2019, which proposes to create a Canadian Experiences Fund to help communities across Canada create or improve their tourism-related infrastructure, products or experiences, including with a focus on rural communities.
This Fund, worth $58.5 million over two years, will be delivered through regional development agencies and would focus on five categories: winter and off-season; Indigenous; Inclusiveness, especially for the LGBTQ2 community; rural and remote communities and farm-to-table, more broadly known as culinary tourism.
Budget 2019 also proposes to provide $5 million to Destination Canada for a tourism marketing campaign that will help Canadians to discover lesser-known areas, hidden national gems and new experiences across the country, Joly said.
As for the tourism table, it will be part of the next economic strategy table meeting cycle, focusing on priority issues such as skills and talent, agile regulations and export promotion and diversification.