• canoes on a lake in canada

    Photo: Andrew Ly

From the rugged beauty of the Atlantic provinces to the vast forested coasts of B.C. and everything in between, Canadians have an abundance of travel destinations to pick from — and it’s time to make the most of them. That was the message from the country’s tourism industry as Canadian Tourism Week kicked off this week.

The week, organised by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, recognises the importance of the tourism industry to Canada’s economy, highlight the struggles it has faced over the past year due to COVID-19 and encourage Canadians to pledge to travel within the country in 2021.

“We are calling on Canadians to take the 2021 Tourism Pledge to travel in Canada when restrictions are lifted,” says Beth Potter, the President and CEO of TIAC. “This is an invitation to come together as a country and support our local tourism destinations, businesses and employees.” 

If Canadians take the pledge and spend two-thirds of their typical annual travel budget on travel in Canada in 2021, the recovery of Canada’s tourism industry will be sped up by a year, according to Marsha Walden, president and CEO of Destination Canada. In addition,150,000 jobs will be put back into the industry.

To gear up for a summer of Canadian travel, Destination Canada has launched a postcard campaign. Canadians are being asked to send well wishes and encourage their Canada-based friends and family to visit. The idea is to visit the website, pick a postcard with an iconic Canadian destination, write a message, address the card, and hit send. Destination Canada then prints and mails the postcard to anywhere in Canada.

Photo: Evan Fitzer

At the tourism week launch, tourism representatives from around Canada shared the places they were most looking forward to travelling to within their provinces. TIA B.C.’s Walt Judas listed the “hidden gem” ranches and resorts of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, while Craig Foley of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador is looking forward to visiting fishing destinations in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as in central Canada.

City-bound Canadians will be more desperate to experience Canadian wilderness than ever before, according to TIA Yukon executive director Blake Rogers. “I think it's really important to recognise the value that those natural assets have in Canada, from provincial parks to territorial parks to national parks, and the opportunities that come from having access to them.”

With 80 per cent of Canadians planning to travel once restrictions are lifted, the industry as a whole will be hoping that many take a “Canada first” approach. Doing so will be doubly beneficial — not only can Canadians discover new parts of the country, they will also be helping keep afloat an industry starved of international visitors.