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Ottawa, May 22, 2015 — The Canadian Chamber of Commerce applauds Prime Minister Harper’s commitment to invest $30 million over three years to attract U.S. visitors to Canada, announced earlier today. Since 2000, Americans’ same-day visits to Canada have declined by 70%, and overnight visits have decreased by 20%.

“We consider today’s announcement to be a critical step for the Canadian tourism industry - a sector representing more of Canada’s GDP than the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries combined,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The Canadian Chamber has called for policy responses to the weakening position of Canada’s tourism sector, and has identified several issues in which the federal government could act to reverse the decline.

“The tourism sector is one of the best investments for the Canadian government,” Mr. Beatty said. “Studies show that every dollar invested in tourism promotion can result in earnings of $60, a big percentage of which goes to governments.”

As the Canadian Tourism Commission’s marketing budget was reduced from $106 million in 2009 to $58 million today, the marketing organization has been forced to withdraw from the United States. Today’s announcement reverses this trend.

The Canadian Chamber continues to promote the importance of the international market, however. “Canada has a great reservoir of good will – but, we are a smaller nation. In China and Brazil, Korea and India, people don’t wake up thinking about us,” said Mr. Beatty. “It’s up to us to make them think of Canada when they plan to travel. Every dollar spent in marketing can earn ten times if it gives us a chance to sell in this very competitive, but very lucrative market.”

For the last three years, the Canadian Chamber has been calling on the federal government to invest $120 million in the CTC’s international marketing budget. Mr. Beatty acknowledged the critical role played by a Canadian Chamber ally, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) in promoting this marketing initiative.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.

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G. Will Dubreuil
Director of Public Affairs and Media Relations
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce