HAC Challenges Feds


The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) met with the Parliamentary Tourism Caucus yesterday to discuss two key issues facing the Canadian lodging industry — international marketing of Canada and current labour shortages.

Close to 20 Ministers, MPs and Senators from all political parties were presented with the lodging industry’s challenge.

According to HAC officials, there is a continued over-reliance on the domestic market. In 2002, 60% of tourism revenue was domestic, 40% was international. Today, 80% is domestic. Together with TIAC, The National Roundtable on Travel and Tourism and other partners including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the HAC is advocating the adoption of “Connecting America” – a co-ordinated campaign to reconnect with the US travel consumer.

“We need to get Canada to 5% annual international growth which means continuing to work in emerging markets and reconnecting with our friends south of the border,” said Tony Pollard, president of the Hotel Association of Canada.

The Canadian lodging industry is facing a structural labour gap with both a skilled and semi-skilled employment crisis. The industry continues to rely on foreign workers in front-line occupations, including front desk agents, housekeepers, food and beverage servers and kitchen staff.

“Once visitors arrive in Canada we have insufficient staff to serve their needs, says Pollard. “Employers need to be provided with clearer instructions on engaging foreign employees.”

The lodging industry is recommending government provide increased international funding for marketing of Canada and an expedited Temporary Foreign Worker Program to address acute labour shortages.