“When I think about Penticton and the South Okanagan region, I think about the farm-to-table experiences. That’s definitely a priority through our fund,” Joly said. “The other thing is anything in line with rural regions can have access to this fund.”
An ongoing problem for the area is labour shortages due to the seasonality of the tourism industry. Joly said the fund will help encourage southern communities to boost their attractiveness to visitors year-round.
“We want people to think about having a career in the tourism sector,” she said. “And we need to have more seniors that want to continue to work, to not be penalized because they continue to work in the hospitality sector.”
A new Canadian tourism strategy is meant to help boost international visits to Canada during non-peak seasons by more than a million people and get visitors to see the country beyond Canada’s biggest cities.
The plan includes $58.5 million over two years to help communities create or improve tourism facilities and experiences.
The funding is supposed to back experiences that show off Canada’s strengths — and break visitors’ fixation on just a few destinations in the nicest weather.
“Just over three out of four international visitors travel only to Canada’s largest provinces, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, and most go to their biggest cities: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal,” the new strategy states.
“Drawing tourists to venture beyond the big cities remains a challenge for regions that want to expand their visitor economies.”
Tourism Minister Melanie Joly said that the tourism measures are tooled to help tourism revenues grow by 25 per cent — to $128 billion –by 2025 and the government also hopes to create 54,000 new jobs directly related to tourism.
In 2018, the federal government says, Canada welcomed 21.1 million international tourists, surpassing the previous year’s record of 20.9 million.
The federal government knows that tourism helps every part of the country, Joly said, adding it has seen many examples of communities transforming and diversifying their economies by attracting visitors.
Tourism is a pillar of the Canadian economy, generating $102 billion in annual economic activity, supporting 1.8 million jobs and accounting for over two per cent of gross domestic product, the federal government said.
Joly was in the Okanagan this week unveiling the how to the gathered audiences.
Picture: Canadian Government
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