The Struggle Continues

TIAC president Beth Potter says there’s light at the end of the tunnel for this country’s ailing tourism industry, even if that light isn’t shining particularly brightly at this moment.

Potter told Wednesday’s TIAC AGM that she remains optimistic that summer will see both leisure and business travel pick up, citing the likes of reopened borders as a reason to be hopeful.

But Potter also noted that tourism firms in this country are having to struggle with the likes of low cash flow and over 40% reported last year that they had to lay off large numbers of employees.

Staff shortages is another major issue and tourism companies are frequently having to contend with “crushing debt loads,” she added.

Potter said Canadian tourism was seeing “slivers of hope” last year but Omicron’s arrival was a setback.

“We still have a long way to go,” she said of tourism during the virtual event.

Potter said that one “silver lining” for tourism these days is the “collaborative effort” tourism is seeing in response to tough times.

Potter said this country must place “greater emphasis” on attracting international visitors, with competition for them expected to be tough once travel recovers.

She said tourism was the “first hit, hardest hit” and will be the last to recover from the pandemic but remains resilient.

The AGM was also told by TIAC board of directors’ chair David McKenna that 2022/2023 will see a notable recovery for tourism, and he said the pandemic has prompted airlines, cruise companies and others in travel to work in “lockstep.”

The “big tent strategy” is well underway, he noted.

Potter in turn noted TIAC has been reaching out to such influential tourism bodies as the WTTC and UNWTO.