The Summer 2018 issue of The Business Advocate features our lunch with Doug Ford, the 64th Annual Golf Tournament, and Oakville’s new MPPs. The magazine features a guest column from Senior Communications Advisor Jim Gray on Tips for Speaking Like a Leader, and a profile on Oakville Chamber member Visit Oakville.
Lost Revenue From The Province’s Tourism Industry Impacting Job Creation and Growth
Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has released new data that reveals a significant tourism opportunity gap when compared to international growth rates. According to the organization’s report, Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario, Ontario has foregone nearly $16 billion in visitor spending between 2006 and 2012 by not keeping up with global growth trends. While this year has been a strong year for tourism in Ontario, it is important that this recent growth is translated into long-term, sustainable gains in tourism visitation.
“The tourism industry is an important economic driver in Oakville as well as in many other communities across the province,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber. “However, through research outlined in this report, we’ve found that Ontario is missing out on significant tourism growth in comparison to international trends. Our local industry and the province as a whole must take steps to boost our reputation as a global destination for foreign visitors and close the tourism gap.”
The Oakville Chamber’s report identifies a number of challenges faced by tourism operators and the broader tourism community in Ontario, while presenting a series of action items to address them. The Oakville Chamber is encouraged that the provincial government is moving ahead with an action plan for the province’s tourism industry, a key consideration highlighted by its membership. We are also very pleased with the local support for visitor attraction that we have seen from the Town of Oakville through the Visit Oakville committee.
“Visit Oakville’s board of directors is reassured by the report and the support of the Chamber’s network” stated Meggan Gardner, Chair of Visit Oakville. “We look forward to a heightened focus on tourism and will continue to work with our partners within the industry, at the Chamber, and at all levels of government, to grow the economic impact of tourism that is both sustainable and supportive of a livable Oakville.”
The Oakville Chamber’s report is clear about the need for any provincial strategy to include measurable targets, a practice currently employed by many successful tourism destinations. These targets would help to organize and coordinate tourism activities amongst the diverse group of public and private tourism organizations in Ontario, another key recommendation of the report.
“Ontario’s tourism sector needs a dedicated strategy driven by the provincial government that not only promotes tourism within Ontario, but also focuses on drawing in visitors from around the world,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “If we can do this successfully, the province will achieve substantial economic gains while keeping up with global growth trends.
To produce this report, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce convened a group of Ontario’s leading thinkers within the tourism community. The report builds on previous initiatives undertaken by members of the tourism industry and further substantiates the need for a focused and measured approach targeted towards supporting the future of tourism in Ontario.