June 19, 2024

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Canada’s tourism industry in the face of the pandemic. Impacts and recovery opportunities! – The initiative

Tourism is the sector most affected in the global economy by the restrictions and constraints imposed by the pandemic. The report (June 2021), presented jointly by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), indicated that international tourism and related sectors have suffered an estimated loss of $ 2.4 trillion in 2020 due to the direct and indirect impacts of the drastic drop in international tourist flows. According to the same report, a rebound in international tourism is expected for the second half of this year, but over the whole of fiscal year 2021, losses would be between $ 1.7 trillion and $ 2.4 trillion from 2019 levels. to return to the levels of the number of international tourist arrivals before the health crisis, we have to wait until 2023, or even later, according to UNWTO experts.

The tourism slump is global in scope and the Canadian tourism industry is not immune to its negative repercussions. According to a report released by Destination Canada in March 2021, the current crisis in the Canadian tourism sector is having a deeper impact than it was after September 11, SARS and the 2008 economic crisis combined.

The Canadian tourism industry: impacts of the crisis and opportunities for recovery

Tourism is first and foremost a service activity. It results from the assembly of several services provided by a myriad of more or less tourist companies. These services are complementary and strongly intertwined to form an inseparable whole. In addition to the travel restrictions that crippled the industry, this interdependence has exacerbated the losses of tourism businesses. Of all the country’s economic sectors, tourism is the one whose businesses have been the most impacted by the pandemic. According to Statistics Canada, the tourism sector lost more businesses (-9%) between January and November 2020. According to a study entitled “ The economic impact of travel restrictions on the Canadian economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic », Conducted by Statistics Canada, the effects of the crisis on the Canadian tourism sector have caused a drop in Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) between $ 27.9 and $ 37.1 billion and a loss of 400,000 to 500,000 jobs in 2020. The unemployment rate in tourism (14.6%) is the highest of any sector at the end of 2020, surpassing the national rate (8%).

While the tourism sector remains the hardest hit by the pandemic, its recovery will also take more time than other sectors. However, this recovery can be accelerated by boosting domestic tourism. Indeed, several major destinations around the world (China, United States, France, Spain, etc.) have relied on domestic tourism as a lever that can revive their tourism.

In 2019, Canadians spent $ 28.2 billion for their leisure travel abroad (Statistics Canada). According to Destination Canada estimates in their March 2021 report, if Canadians spent two-thirds of their overseas leisure travel budget on domestic tourism, that would cover an estimated $ 19 billion shortfall. for the tourism economy and would help maintain 150,000 jobs. In fact, there is no shortage of tourist attractions in the second largest country in the world to arouse the taste for travel of its citizens! Will Canadians choose Canada to boost tourism in a country with high socioeconomic challenges?

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