July 24, 2019

Growth for Canada’s Tourism Sector

For many in Canada and around the world, the summer months are a time to take advantage of longer, warmer days and an opportunity to visit new places and experience new cultures. Did you know that Canada’s tourism sector generates $102 billion in annual economic activity, involves 1.8 million jobs, and accounts for over 2% of GDP?

Given its importance, Budget 2019 proposed several measures to support tourism and Canadian businesses and organizations seeking to create, improve, or expand tourism-related infrastructure, products, or experiences. Commitments include the addition of a seventh Economic Strategy Table dedicated to tourism. And, in May 2019, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Mélanie Joly unveiled the federal government’s new tourism strategyCreating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategywhich includes ambitious growth targets of 54,000 new tourism and travel sectors jobs, and an increase in tourism revenue of 25% by 2025.

Canada’s colleges and institutes will be important players in reaching those targets, particularly given their commitment to sustainability and their unique connection to community development. Here’s a snapshot of some of the hospitality and tourism-related training and research already taking place at campuses across the country:

  • The Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) is Canada’s centre of excellence for education in the tourism sector, having trained more than 13,500 graduates in advanced hospitality skills with an in-house 4-star hotel operated by students and two teaching restaurants in downtown Montreal, the Restaurant de l’ITHQ and the Resto-école La Relève gourmande. The institute even conducts applied research in hospitality in order to respond to the needs of a sector in constant evolution.
    • ExperiSens is a new College Centre for the Transfer of Technologies (CCTT) at the ITHQ specializing in research into multisensory client experience and working with small and medium enterprises to develop new products, services, concepts, and innovative strategies that engage and optimize consumer behaviour and experience.
  • Red River College also offers a Hospitality and Tourism Management program which provides training in fundamental business and customer service areas before specializing in Tourism Entrepreneurship, in which students are challenged to develop a visitor attraction using skills honed in previous study terms. RRC also operates a Jane’s, a teaching restaurant located in a former bank in downtown Winnipeg.
  • Thompson Rivers University’s post-baccalaureate diploma in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Tourism teaches students with a foundational knowledge of tourism to put their research skills to use in creating, designing, operating, and evaluating events and festivals.
  • For adventurers, College of the Rockies offers two programs in Adventure Tourism Business Operations and Mountain Adventure Skills Training, taking advantage of the beautiful Rocky Mountains to offer students hands-on training in adventure skills – such as rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, backcountry skiing, and avalanche safety – marketing, sustainability, business, and entrepreneurship.
  • The Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles’ Adventure Tourism Technology program teaches students to plan trips in a natural environment, teach skills and techniques, interpret surroundings, and intervene in emergency situations.
  • Students in Native Education College’s Aboriginal Tourism Operations program gain practical skills and knowledge in ecotourism, heritage interpretation, and cross-cultural tourism with an emphasis on learning how to incorporate Indigenous culture and heritage into the tourism industry.
  • Holland College’s Culinary Institute of Canada offers a two-year diploma in International Hospitality Management. In partnership with local-area hotels, students learn about the details of managing a restaurant, resort, hotel, or nightclub with a particular emphasis on cultural diversity and global standards. The Dining Room teaching restaurant offers delicious meals with a scenic view of the ocean.
  • Seneca College’s Global Hospitality Services Leadership graduate certificate offers students insights into the leadership skills needed to pursue managerial positions within the global hospitality industry.

These are just a few examples of what colleges and institutes can offer students looking to turn summer vacations into a rewarding career to the benefit of an expanded tourism sector for Canada.