To be effective, a federal tourism strategy must consider challenges and opportunities facing Canada’s air transport sector
OTTAWA. The Canadian Airports Council today welcomed the announcement of an Advisory Council on Jobs and the Visitor Economy to assist Minister of Tourism and Official Languages Melanie Joly in the development of a tourism strategy by next summer. As a major air transport stakeholder, Canada’s airports look forward to meeting with the council to bring high-level awareness to the challenges and opportunities facing Canada’s airports and industry partners.
“Tourism is a major economic driver for Canada, a $97.4 billion industry that employs some 1.8 million Canadians, with about 194,000 direct jobs at Canada’s airports. These are not only in Canada’s biggest cities but also in regional economic centres and small communities throughout the country,” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch. “Tourism does help every part of the country, urban and rural, and it does supports middle class jobs that cannot be easily replaced. Many of these are in air transport and given the important role of air transport to the success of our tourism sector, an effective tourism strategy must consider the government role in addressing issues and opportunities identified by Canada’s airports and our partners in the air travel supply chain.”
The CAC has been actively engaged with the Government of Canada on several files dependent on federal action. As outlined in the CAC’s pre-budget submission for Federal Budget 2019 next spring, these include:
- Service level standards for government services at airports, notably security screening and border services conducted by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), respectively. Canada’s ability to welcome millions of additional tourists is dependent on the capacity to receive them. This requires a commitment to funding and investments in both staff hours and technology/innovation, as Canada’s airports expect to welcome an additional 75 million passengers a year 10 years from now.
- Infrastructure funding for small airports and for regional ground connectivity. Canada’s airports have invested $25 billion in infrastructure since 1992 to improve services to travellers and ensure airports have the capacity to absorb the growth in demand for air travel. However, the federal government has a role to play in supporting infrastructure investment at small airports and in promoting connectivity groundside through investments in transit and roads connecting airports with the surrounding region.
- Reconsidering the fiscal approach to airports, which contributed $368 million to the federal government in airport land rent last year. The CAC has called on the federal government to eliminate rent for all airports with fewer than 3 million passengers. If rent is to be charged of other airports, the CAC has called for it to be capped or the calculation formula revised to no longer penalize airports for capital investments and revenue diversification.
- Programs to improve international connections through Canada, which help support new international air routes and additional service on existing routes that would not be viable without connecting traffic. This opens new opportunities and capacity for travellers to come to Canada.
About the Canadian Airports Council
The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), the voice for Canada’s airports community, has 54 members representing more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports across Canada. Canada’s NAS airports are independently operated by non-share capital corporations that reinvest all financial surpluses back into the airport for the benefit of users and the community.
Together, CAC members handle virtually all of the nation’s air cargo and international passenger traffic, and 95% of domestic passenger traffic. They provide 194,000 direct jobs, $19 billion to the national GDP and $48 billion in direct economic activity. They also provide municipal, provincial and federal governments $6.9 billion in tax revenues each year.
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