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The tourism secret we need to tell the young

Pre-pandemic you couldn’t throw a ski pole on a Canadian ski field without hitting an Aussie worker (please don’t throw ski poles at us). But when COVID hit and borders closed, that distinctive Aussie twang has become more of a whisper.



Like the rest of the world, Canada’s tourism and hospitality industry is facing a labour crisis. This, when coupled with what Canada’s tourism minister Randy Boissannault refers to as ‘revenge travel’ means that supply (or expectation of it) is not going to meet demand.


“We’re coming out of two years of people in their basements and backyards and now they want to travel,’ Boissannault told media at Rendezvous Canada in Toronto last week. 


“So they are going on the road and they’re going to spend more than they’ve ever spent before because they don’t know if they’re going to spend next year in their basements again.”


Destination Canada Board of Directors chair Liza Frulla said that while traveller demand is strong and the local industry is ready to welcome back travellers, labour shortages are among the various “challenges” currently facing an industry in need of both short term revenue and long term resilience. 


Working in tourism is great, Frulla said and repeated quickly after. 


“We have to tell all the youth in the world travel is a great job,” she said, because for the past two years they have heard the opposite. 


“So for everyone who wants to come into tourism, the message is this: tourism is back and it’s going to be stronger than ever.”


Boissannault, “humbled and amazed by the dynamism, and the passion that people in this sector bring to their jobs”, said that this country had a choice and that choice was to let the market ride or actually provide supports to the sector so that we could come back even better than before.” 


They chose the latter.


But it can’t all be about throwing money on a situation. 


Some other solutions to the labour shortages currently being considered are to include possibly lifting the cap placed on student working hours per week, setting a short-term, temporary foreign worker program and even offering tourism and hospitality workers possible citizenship. 


“If you want to come here and work at the Metro (Toronto) Convention Centre or the hotel sector and you’re prepared to do that and you have a job for 12 months, that should be a path to citizenship,” Boissonnault told Travel Week. 


“So we’re working on that as well.”


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Published: 30 May 2022

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