MONTRÉAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 5, 2012) - Today, the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), highlighted the progress made in the implementation of Canada's Federal Tourism Strategy (FTS), a whole-of-government initiative to help position Canada's tourism sector for long-term growth and competitiveness.

"Our government's top priorities are jobs, growth and long-term prosperity," said Minister of State Bernier during his remarks at Gueuletons touristiques, a noontime lecture series organized by the Transat Chair in Tourism at the Université du Québec à Montréal's (UQAM) École des sciences de la gestion [school of management]. "Through the Federal Tourism Strategy, our government is working with industry to position the tourism sector to seize international growth opportunities and create jobs in Canada."

The Minister of State noted that since the launch of the FTS in October 2011, the Canadian Tourism Commission has established the Signature Experiences Collection, which now includes 163 extraordinary Canadian tourism experiences across the country. In the first six months of 2012, access to Canada improved with a record-breaking half-million visas issued to international travellers. Canada is on track to issue 1 million travel visas by year's end. By increasing the number of Visa Application Centres in operation worldwide from 60 to 150 by 2014, Canada is looking to build on this momentum.

"Our government is positioning Canadian tourism to become more innovative, attractive and competitive on the world stage," said Minister of State Bernier. "I welcome opportunities, such as today's event, that foster an open discussion with industry and academia about ways to strengthen Canada's tourism industry."

Recognizing the importance of tourism to the Canadian economy, the Harper Government assists the tourism sector in many ways, including operating national parks, marketing Canada to the world and investing in both festival programming and infrastructure.

Visit the Supporting Tourism website for more information on the FTS and other tourism initiatives.

Contact Information:

Scott French
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Media Relations
Industry Canada