July 11, 2017

The Opportunity

In 2016, nearly 20 million international tourists visited Canada, the highest number of travellers to Canada in over a decade. International tourist arrivals grew by over 11 percent in 2016, the largest annual growth Canada has seen in 30 years.

Tourism is of strategic importance to Atlantic Canada. It supports 9,600 businesses, employs 57,000 Atlantic Canadians and contributes nearly $5 billion annually to  Atlantic Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In May, Canada’s New Tourism Vision was announced by Small Business and Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger at Rendez-vous Canada. This vision includes investing in Canada’s regionally diverse tourism offerings by supporting the marketing of regional products, investing in tourism businesses, and helping export-ready tourism businesses.


Tourism and the Atlantic Growth Strategy

Growing tourism is part of the Trade and Investment priority of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The strategy was launched in 2016 by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces as a pan-Atlantic, collaborative approach to stimulate the region's economy, support the middle class and address both longstanding and emerging regional challenges. The strategy is driving economic development in Atlantic Canada by delivering concrete and measurable results.

The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Destination Canada, and the four Atlantic provincial governments have worked together over the last year to develop a new, strategic approach to tourism development in the region. They will continue to work together to develop innovative ways to strengthen the tourism sector in the region.


Objectives and Expected Outcomes

This new pan-Atlantic tourism approach will more fully align the region’s marketing, product development, and capacity building initiatives with national and provincial programs and priorities. This will help increase the reach of Atlantic Canada’s tourism industry into international markets and strengthen the industry’s knowledge, professionalism and overall performance.

Investments made through the new tourism strategy are expected to generate $200 million in export revenues for Atlantic tourism businesses over the next three years. It is also expected to grow the region’s tourism sector by 200 small-and medium-sized enterprises for a total of 9,800, and by 6,000 jobs, for a total of 63,000. 


Initiatives Stemming from Tourism Strategy

Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT): ACAT, a new three-year, $19.95 million project, will promote the four Atlantic Provinces as leading vacation destinations in key markets in the United States and the United Kingdom. This federal-provincial-industry marketing partnership will enable the Government of Canada, the four Atlantic Provinces and the tourism industry to pool resources and penetrate markets that are largely inaccessible individually. 

During the first year of the ACAT, officials will review the current approach and make adjustments as required over the life of the agreement, to ensure that it is targeting the appropriate markets and seizing the opportunities that will deliver the maximum benefit for the region’s tourism sector. 

Funding partners for ACAT include:

ACOA - $9,975,000

  • Government of New Brunswick - $2,154,600
  • Government of Nova Scotia - $2,154,600
  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador - $1,436,400
  • Government of Prince Edward Island – $837,900
  • Tourism Industry Associations* $3,390,000


Tourism International Marketing Expansion (TIME): TIME is a new, three-year, $4.5 million project, designed to examine and exploit growth opportunities in developing markets overseas. This federal-provincial partnership will take advantage of growth opportunities arising from emerging and developing markets, beginning with China and Germany.

Funding partners for TIME include:

  • Destination Canada (Marketing Program) - $2,250,000
  • ACOA - $1,350,000
  • Government of New Brunswick - $225,000
  • Government of Nova Scotia - $225,000
  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador - $225|,000
  • Government of Prince Edward Island - $225,000


Travel Trade Market Readiness (TTMR): TTMR, a $250,000 project, will provide tourism operators with the knowledge and skills required to fully understand the travel trade business model, and an understanding of how to assess and benefit from opportunities in developing markets.  This federal-provincial-industry partnership directly supports the Atlantic Growth Strategy’s international tourism marketing efforts in established and developing markets. 

Funding partners for TTMR are:

  • ACOA - $140,000
  • Government of New Brunswick - $20,000
  • Government of Nova Scotia - $20,000
  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador - $20,000
  • Government of Prince Edward Island - $20,000
  • Tourism Industry Associations* - $30,000


* Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island, Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador


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