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The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has released its “Gateway to Growth Aiming High: Air Access to Canada” report, which examines the impact of Canada\’s air service agreement policies on the country’s travel and tourism industry. According to TIAC, Canada has made tremendous progress in recent years establishing aviation service agreements and free trade treaties with dozens of countries across the globe. Most notably being the Canada Europe Trade Agreement signed only weeks ago. But for some competitiveness barriers in aviation policy, Canada has the capacity to maximize the economic benefits from trade liberalization.

\”It is well established that travel drives trade. With both free trade and aviation liberalization agreements in place with Europe, we need to turn our focus to maximizing air lift out of Europe into Canadian airports. If Canada\’s aviation taxes and fees were lower we could be a true aviation hub between Europe and the Americas,\” said TIAC president David Goldstein.

In the report, TIAC recommends a three-pronged approach, consistent with the Federal Tourism Strategy, to address the aviation policy challenges currently impeding Canada\’s competitiveness:

!!! Cost Structure: Even with a liberal air access agreement, Canada\’s prohibitively expensive aviation fees, taxes and levies continue to inhibit international competition;

!!! Facilitation: As Canada generates additional demand among foreign visitors, passenger facilitation must be modernized and simplified to ensure capacity and efficiency. Passenger volumes through Canada sustain flights for visitors to Canada. Programs such as Transit Without Visa (TWV) must be a priority to stimulate incremental flights and increase global market share;

!!! Air Service Agreements: Canada needs to continue on its path of liberalized air access agreements from a business to business perspective.

Travel and tourism is among the highest performing sectors of the global economy, experiencing average growth of 4% and generating over $1trillion of annual revenue. This segment of the global economy is fiercely competitive where quality of experience, ease of access and price point drives demand. Canada\’s expensive aviation fees, taxes and levies are pricing us out of the market place, says TIAC.

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