Call For Federal Tourism Cash

Southwest Ontario Tourism Executive Director Jim Hudson speaks at a tourism week even in downtown Windsor, June 2, 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

The executive director of the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation says Canada is being outspent when it comes to marketing to American tourists, and it shows.

“The decline in U.S. visitors has been horrendous,” says Jim Hudson. “That has helped drive Canada’s position in world tourism down to — I think we’re number 17 or 18 in the world, and still falling.”

Hudson says the province has done its part, but he’d like to see the federal government step up funding.

He says the decline started when Ottawa cut the Canadian Tourism Commission’s budget to $58-million per year. Since then, Canada has simply been outspent. “Our friends across the river in Michigan, they spend $50-million U.S. alone on their Pure Michigan campaign.”

About $2-million is spent every year by the corporation in southwestern Ontario.

He says his corporation and others in southwestern Ontario have contributed over $100,000 towards U.S. marketing and had hoped the Harper government would match nationwide contributions.

While the federal government did ante up $10-million, Hudson says it still leaves Canadian marketing short.