KENNEY ADDS TO TROUBLING TUMBLE IN TOURISM: Visa decision worsens tourism industry woes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 16, 2009

KENNEY ADDS TO TROUBLING TUMBLE IN TOURISM: Visa decision worsens tourism industry woes

OTTAWA – The number of Mexican tourists visiting Canada in May dropped by 25 percent from a year earlier, an alarming decline that will only accelerate because of the new visa requirements imposed this week, said New Democrat Industry and Border Critic Brian Masse.

“Mexicans spend over $300 million a year in Canada, and yet this government chose the height of tourist season to impose new rules on Mexican visitors,” said Mr. Masse. “Mexico one of the top six countries whose residents vacation in Canada. This is yet another example of how the Harper Conservatives have failed to help the struggling tourism industry in Canada.”
Over the past five years, Statistics Canada reports that the number of visitors to Canada has plummeted to 27 million in 2008 from 39 million visitors in 2004.

The most alarming and ongoing decline is in travel to Canada from the United States. In 2007, Americans tourists spent over $7 billion in Canada. Between April and May alone, Americans took 21,000 fewer overnight trips to Canada.

“Canadian small businesses make up a large part of our tourism industry and the government must do more to support it,” said Mr. Masse.

“New Democrats have been calling for proactive, sector-based strategies to help industries like tourism adjust to the new economy All over the world, small business and government are collaborating to build new opportunities for jobs and innovation. Canada has taken the opposite approach of picking winners and losers – and under the Harper Conservatives, tourism has been a loser.”
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