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Closing the Tourism Gap

$16 Billion Ontario Tourism Gap Requires a Dedicated Government Strategy:

New Report by Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Bay of Quinte Regional Chambers of Commerce

Lost Revenue From The Province's Tourism Industry Impacting Job Creation and Growth

Toronto, ON, November 17, 2016: Today, the Bay of Quinte Regional Chambers of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has released new data that reveals a significant tourism opportunity gap when compared to international growth rates. According to the organization's report, Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario, Ontario has foregone nearly $16 billion in visitor spending between 2006 and 2012 by not keeping up with global growth trends. While this year has been a strong year for tourism in Ontario, it is important that this recent growth is translated into long-term, sustainable gains in tourism visitation.

“The tourism industry is an extremely important economic driver in Prince Edward County and while it might appear that we have no shortage of tourists, we require a sustained approach to bringing visitors to our area”. said Emily Cowan, Executive Director of the Prince Edward County Chamber of Tourism and Commerce.  “The spike in visitors over the past two years follows a fifteen-year decline or stagnancy of tourism to Ontario, it is therefore critical that we find a way to sustain these tourism gains over the long-term”.

The OCC report identifies a number of challenges faced by tourism operators and the broader tourism community in Ontario, while presenting a series of action items to address them. The Bay of Quinte Regional Chambers are encouraged that the government is moving ahead with an action plan for the province’s tourism industry, a key consideration highlighted by its membership.

“The OCC report is clear about the need for any provincial strategy to include measurable targets, a practice currently employed by many successful tourism destinations.” Stated Bill Saunders, CEO of the Belleville Chamber. “These targets would help to organize and coordinate tourism activities amongst the diverse group of public and private tourism organizations in Ontario, another key recommendation of the report.”

“Ontario’s tourism landscape is made up of a diversity of organizations involved in various tourism activities, including the Ministry, the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Regional Tourism Organizations, Destination Marketing Organizations, tourism operators, and others,” says Suzanne Andrews, General Manager of Quinte West Chamber. “To minimize duplication and overlap, and maximize their collective impact on tourism growth, it is essential that we work to better define roles and responsibilities of these groups.”

“Ontario's tourism sector needs a dedicated strategy driven by the provincial government that not only promotes tourism within Ontario, but also focuses on drawing in visitors from around the world,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “If we can do this successfully, the province will achieve substantial economic gains while keeping up with global growth trends.”

To produce this report, the OCC convened a group of Ontario’s leading thinkers within the tourism community. The report builds on previous initiatives undertaken by members of the tourism industry and further substantiates the need for a focused and measured approach targeted towards supporting the future of tourism in Ontario.

Read the Full Report Here

Learn more about the OCC.


Belleville & District Chamber of Commerce Media Contact:

Bill Saunders





Prince Edward County Chamber of Tourism & Commerce Media Contact:

Emily Cowan

Executive Director

T: 613-476-2421



Quinte West Chamber of Commerce Media Contact:

Suzanne Andrews

General Manager

T: 613-392-7635



OCC Media Contact:

Michelle Kelly

Senior Communications Advisor

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

T: 416.482.5222 ext. 2410


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