Media Release | Information Release
June 4, 2015 – The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) and tourism operators from across the province that make up the MCC’s Tourism Committee are calling on the government to enact their own stated goal of creating a sustainable funding model to increase tourism funding in Manitoba.
“The tourism industry in Manitoba is a significant economic driver that that provides an impact of over $1.5 billion dollars to the provincial economy and creates thousands of jobs,” said Manitoba Chambers President and CEO Chuck Davidson. “The fact that the government outlined this as an action item almost three years ago and have dragged their feet on it with a sustainable tourism investment presented to them is a sobering indication of where tourism sits with this government.”
Over the last decade, Manitoba’s tourism budget has remained flat with Travel Manitoba receiving only $7.5 million annually. Comparatively, Saskatchewan receives more than $15 million, while Nova Scotia and New Brunswick each receive close to $13 million annually.
In November 2012, the government released “The Manitoba Government’s Tourism Action Plan 2012-2015” which outlined the need for a sustainable funding model to support tourism development and marketing. Unfortunately the government has provided little guidance, initiative, or willingness towards the development of a sustainable funding model. What is even more frustrating is that a sustainable funding model has already been proposed to government but no action has been taken.
A sustainable tourism investment of a 96/4 split with government has been proposed and presented to the government by Travel Manitoba. Under this model, the Province of Manitoba would receive 96 per cent of all tourism tax revenue with the remaining four per cent going to Travel Manitoba for increased marketing. As described in the plan has the potential to:
- Increase annual tourism expenditures by over 36% to $2.1 billion by 2020 if the province invests $28.2 million over the next six years in Travel Manitoba’s marketing programs.
- Increase investment potential to deliver $288 million in new money to the province as well as an additional $46 million in tax revenue to the province.
“The provincial government currently receives close to $250 million in tax revenue as a result of the tourism industry,” said Merv Gunter, owner of Frontiers North Adventures and Chair of the MCC Board of Directors. “MCC is urging the government adopt the 96/4 model and look at is as an investment in which all Manitobans will benefit.”
Over the past number of years Manitoba has seen investment in tremendous opportunities like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Assiniboine Park Zoo, and many others. In addition, the recent “Manitoba…Canada’s Heart Beats” campaign has awoken Manitobans to the great sights that can be experienced in their own province.
“We have world class product and a strong tourism brand in this province that we can build upon,” added Davidson. “It’s Travel Manitoba’s job to create awareness of the product, but without proper investment they simply can’t compete with other jurisdictions to make this happen.”
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, established in 1931, is the umbrella organization for Manitoba’s chamber movement. With a membership comprised of 69 local Chambers of Commerce, as well as direct Corporate Members, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is Manitoba’s largest and most diverse business lobby, representing close to 10,000 businesses and community leaders.
Chuck, along with Merv Gunter, Chair of MCC’s Board of Directors shared details on the tourism issues with 680 CJOB just prior to the news conference. To listen to their conversation on tourism and the impact of a new sustainable investment model would have, click here and here for part 2.