The federal government unveiled a comprehensive tourism strategy last week. Taking a whole-of-government approach, the strategy acknowledges the contribution of festivals and performing arts organizations in realizing Canada’s full tourism potential.
Arts presentation and creative export acknowledged in the tourism strategy
As requested in CAPACOA’s brief on tourism, the strategy identifies the Canada Arts Presentation Fund and Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage as key programs in the strategy. Both programs are listed in the “empowering Canadian communities to develop tourism experience” section of the strategy and the investments of the 2019 federal budget are explicitly mentioned as allocations supporting the strategy. As a reminder, the 2019 federal budget committed $16 million over two years to the Canada Arts Presentation Fund and $24 million over two years to the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program and the Celebration and Commemoration Program.
The Creative Export Strategy is also identified as a contributor to the tourism strategy, under “Supporting Businesses and Empowering the Tourism Workforce”.
- The fact that these time-limited investments in arts presentation and export (all are set to expire at the end of the 2020-2021 fiscal year) are mentioned in a longer-term tourism strategy is very meaningful. It creates a strong rationale for extending these investments after the federal election. Please, take a moment to tell your Member of Parliament that you appreciate the tourism strategy and that you want the government to follow through on it after the federal election.
A new Canadian Experiences Fund
One of the key elements of the strategy is the new Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF), a $58.5 million investment over two years. The CEF will enhance Canada’s tourism products and experiences across five focus areas:
- winter and shoulder-season tourism;
- Indigenous tourism;
- inclusiveness, especially for the LGBTQ2 community;
- rural and remote communities; and
- farm-to-table, also known as culinary tourism.
The CEF will be delivered through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies. Not-for-profit organizations will be eligible. Eligible projects will support the growth and diversification of the tourism sector. These activities may include:
- Planning and development of tourism products and services: improving or designing new tourism services and products such as tours, special events and festivals
- Market readiness training: working with tourism associations to provide training to businesses to market their products, adopt foreign payment systems, manage cultural differences, etc.; and
- Creating or improving tourism facilities: physical assets used by tourists such as trails, campgrounds, and shelters.
Any arts organization who fits with any of the Fund’s five focus areas should connect with local or regional tourism partners and explore options for a joint or solo application.
There are still no news on how the new CAPF funding or the expanded Student Work Placement Program will be administered. We are in touch with Canadian Heritage and we will share information as it becomes available.