Industry Imperatives

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) in their document entitled The Path Forward 2016-2021 note the current value of Indigenous Tourism in the country is $1.4 billion, employing 33,000 individuals. The stated goal is to increase employment to 40,000 by 2021. The Strategic Plan cites the need for product development, training and education and quality assurance to meet these goals.

The Canadian Tourism Commission has provided a research-based insight on the changing demographic for the Country. The research points to the rapidly emerging Millennial Travel market. This segment now represents 20% of the global total in the international sector and is projected to grow rapidly into the 2020s. It is important to note this group often spends more than other segments as they tend to stay longer and travel more frequently than other age groups, valuing travel as an essential aspect of their lives. The values and culture of this age segment align well with the Cape Breton and Atlantic products.

TIAC has formally recommended to the Federal Government that the labour market needs to be used as the main determinant to access immigration streams. Even with an enhanced immigration policy for the country, TIAC projects there will be 60,000 unstaffed jobs in the industry by 2035. With the vast majority of immigration occurring to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, this tendency adds to the imperative of a “made in Atlantic Canada” solution if the regional economy is to thrive or in some cases survive.

In the September 6, 2018 Speech from the Throne the Government of Nova Scotia noted that 2017 was the fourth consecutive year of growth and a record 2.4 million visitors came to the province.

The most recent ACOA commissioned a study on Tourist Accommodation, done by Group ATN Consulting Inc. in 2017 commented on the surge in room nights in Cape Breton. Also worthy of note and germane to this concept paper, is the opinion that if Nova Scotia is to reach its target of generating $4 billion annually from tourism, then among other issues, the Province must deal with service quality and strive to exceed basic standards. Industry association officials have been quite direct on this topic stating that standards of service must improve if Nova Scotia is to reach its growth targets.

The Covid-19 Global Pandemic has crippled the global industry and has effectively suspended all international travel as of Spring 2020. The long-term outcomes of the pandemic on the sector are not yet known but will be the subject of wide, international research.