China grants ‘approved destination status’

OTTAWA — The Canadian tourism industry is applauding a decision by China to grant “approved destination status” to Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen visits the Great Wall of China at Badaling in Beijing

OTTAWA — The Canadian tourism industry is applauding a decision by China to grant “approved destination status” to Canada.

The move was announced Thursday in Beijing on the second day of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first official visit to the country.

The status gives the Canadian tourism industry a boost by permitting Chinese travel agents to market Canada as a vacation spot.

The industry has long been seeking the status, which officials estimate could be worth $100 million to Canada.

“This is a vital and historic announcement for Canada’s tourism industry,” said Randy Williams, president and CEO of the Ottawa-based Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

The agreement will allow Canadian tourism operators to tap into the world’s most significant emerging outbound tourism market, Williams said.

By 2020, China is expected to be the world’s largest outbound market, producing some 100 million tourists.

Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, called the announcement an early Christmas present for Canadian tourism, and one that will keep on giving for years.

The Conference Board of Canada has said its expects tourism to increase by 50 per cent over the next five years because of the agreement.

Ablonczy said it would take time to get processes in place and officials up to speed, but said with the Vancouver Olympics just over two months away, she expected it would happen very quickly.

7/8Having China opened up to Toronto as a tourist market is great news for the city and region,“ said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Tourism Toronto.

“We currently have about 70,000 visitors a year from China and they tend to stay longer and spend more while they are here, making it a strategically important visitor market for Toronto.”

Tourism Toronto has been actively developing the China market for several years through tour operators and PR initiatives, but the new status allows it to promote the city more directly to Chinese consumers, Whitaker said.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today, some complain of long lines

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia are heading to the polls today… Continue reading

Kennedy Stewart named mayor of Vancouver; one of several B.C. turnovers

VANCOUVER — Former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has won a neck-and-neck… Continue reading

‘In our bloodline:’ Land-based learning links curriculum with Indigenous culture

REGINA — A school day for six-year-old Hunter Sasakamoose can start with… Continue reading

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Most Read