SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Nikita Ivanov, Sean Houghton

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Minister of State Bernier Highlights Strength of Canadian Tourism at Annual Industry Congress

GATINEAU, QUEBEC -- (Marketwire) -- 11/21/12 -- Today, the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), highlighted the strong growth of the Canadian tourism industry and the Harper Government's efforts, through the Federal Tourism Strategy, to work with industry to better position Canada's tourism industry to compete on the world stage.

"Our government's top priorities are jobs, growth and long-term prosperity," said Minister of State Bernier at the Hall of Fame luncheon held during the Tourism Industry Association of Canada's 2012 Tourism Congress. "Since the launch of the Federal Tourism Strategy last fall, we have been working to position Canada's tourism industry for long-term competitiveness. I am proud to say that we are delivering on nearly half of our commitments in only one year's time."

In his address, Minister of State Bernier noted some accomplishments, including improvements to the Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program; the increased number of Visa Application Centres in operation around the world, which reached 60 in 41 countries and are expected to reach 150 by 2014; and the Canadian Tourism Commission's Signature Experiences Collection, which now includes 163 extraordinary Canadian tourism experiences across the country.

The Minister of State also highlighted the strong growth of Canadian tourism revenues, which have increased for 12 consecutive quarters. During the first half of 2012, tourism revenues in Canada increased by $1.8 billion, reaching $35.2 billion, and the number of tourism jobs averaged more than 608,000.

Minister of State Bernier encouraged Canada's tourism entrepreneurs to continue to innovate, to compete and to enhance visitor experiences through exceptional service and tourism offerings.

"Our government is pleased to celebrate the achievements of Canada's tourism entrepreneurs as we work with industry toward the same goal," said Minister of State Bernier. "Congratulations to this year's Hall of Fame inductees, whose work and efforts serve as an example to the entire tourism community."

The Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame recognizes individuals whose actions and accomplishments have had a positive impact on the tourism sector.

Visit the Supporting Tourism website (www.tourism.gc.ca) for more information on the Federal Tourism Strategy and other tourism initiatives.

Contacts:
Scott French
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
613-943-6183

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502

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