The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) says the federal government's intention to pursue free trade with Japan is an excellent move for the industry.
In a March 25 news release, TIAC President & CEO David Goldstein says free trade would promote business and leisure travel between the two countries and would drive economic growth.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in late March that his government plans to enter into free-trade negotiations with Japan. Japan ranks among Canada's Top 10 sources of international visitors.
Goldstein notes, "A free-trade agreement with Japan would be a boon for Canada's tourism industry, as recent studies show international travel and bilateral trade to be linked inextricably. Not only does business travel stimulate the visitor economy, but overseas travellers are also known to stay longer and spend more in Canada as they complement their visits with personal leisure activities and travel."
He adds that a free-trade agreement would promote discussion of a more open air access agreement with Japan. "A more liberalized air access agreement between Canada and Japan will be essential if we are to capitalize on the significant economic opportunity that exists within a free-trade agreement. An expanded open skies agreement would effectively provide us with greater opportunities to deliver more Japanese travellers to more Canadian destinations."
TIAC is the national organization representing Canada's $74-billion tourism industry. Its members include air and passenger rail services, airport authorities, local and provincial destination authorities, hotels, attractions and tour operators.