Friday, November 25, 2011

Report shows Parks Canada’s significant contribution to Canadian economy

  • Federal Government also announces continuing fee freeze for 2012 at Parks Canada sites

Government of Canada news release

The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today released a report, entitled The Economic Impact of Parks Canada, detailing Parks Canada’s substantial economic contribution to Canada’s economy, at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) 2011 Tourism Congress.

“The Economic Impact of Parks Canada report shows that the federal government is a major player in
Canada’s tourism industry and that our investments have a profound impact on the economies of local communities,” said Minister Kent. “This long-term competitiveness and growth illustrates the Federal Tourism Strategy’s vision for Canada, resulting in new opportunities for increased revenues and employment in every region across Canada.”

Parks Canada is Canada’s largest provider of natural and historic tourism products. The destinations it manages form the cornerstones of the Canadian tourism industry. The report reveals that the annual expenditures made by Parks Canada and the millions of visitors to Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas make a substantial and widespread contribution to the Canadian economy, through job creation and revenues generated for local businesses.

These expenditures contributed $3.3 billion to the Canadian economy in 2008-2009, with more than
80% of that money being contributed by visitors to Parks Canada sites and their local communities. Spending by foreign visitors accounted for over 40% of all visitor spending at almost $1.2 billion, representing a substantial amount of new money injected into the Canadian economy.

The Minister also announced today that most Parks Canada fees will continue to remain frozen at
2008 levels for an additional year, in the midst of the current global economic uncertainty, until at least March 31, 2013 (March 31, 2014 for commercial operators). This includes, for example, all of the fees that visitors pay for entry to the parks and sites, for staying at the campgrounds, for mooring their boats or for using the locks at the historic canals. Parks Canada continually assesses economic and market factors to determine when and to what extent any fee increases will be considered.

Throughout 2011, Parks Canada is celebrating its Centennial and its continuing role as a world leader in the protection and presentation of natural and historic heritage. Each year, millions of visitors enjoy real and inspiring experiences at destinations managed by Parks Canada.

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada’s historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at Canada’s treasured natural and historic places.

Background: The economic impact of Parks Canada report

The Economic Impact of Parks Canada report provides an assessment of the economic impacts of Parks Canada and its visitors during the 2008-2009 fiscal year and examines spending figures attributable to each of the Parks Canada program areas at the national level as well as within each province and territory.

The idea of undertaking a project to estimate the economic impact of Canada’s national, provincial and territorial parks was first discussed by the Canadian Parks Council (CPC) at a meeting in Gananoque, Ontario in October, 2003. The resulting report, published in 2005, provided a composite estimate of the economic impact of Canada’s parks and included data from all jurisdictions with the exception of Prince Edward Island and Québec.

Following the publication of the 2005 report, the Ministers responsible for parks asked the CPC to prepare a similar economic impact report on a more regular basis at their annual meeting in 2006. This initiated a 3-year process, starting in 2007, to develop a more comprehensive report, The Economic Impact of Canada’s National, Provincial and Territorial Parks in 2009, compiling data gathered from Parks Canada and park agencies from every Canadian province and territory and using an enhanced Economic Impact Model.

Parks Canada made the decision to develop its own report concurrently with the CPC report, entitled The Economic Impact of Parks Canada, so that Parks Canada could also address the economic contributions of its National Historic Sites, which were not included in the CPC study. The Economic Impact Model for Parks (EIMP) was used to calculate the economic impacts associated with organizational and visitor spending. EIMP reports direct, indirect and induced impacts for GDP, labour income and employment as well as taxes by jurisdiction.

The report found that combined annual expenditures of Parks Canada and millions of visitors make a substantial and widespread contribution to the Canadian economy, both directly through its facilities, locations and services, and indirectly in the surrounding communities through spending on accommodations, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses.

Parks Canada’s organizational spending and visitor spending in 2008-2009 totalled $3.3 billion. Of this amount, visitor spending accounted for $2.7 billion and $587 million was spent by Parks Canada on its National Parks, National Historic Sites, and National Marine Conservation Areas. The overall national economic impact of Parks Canada on the Canadian economy includes significant contributions to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product ($3 billion), labour income ($1.9 billion), employment (41,720 full-time equivalents) and tax revenue ($218 million).

Of the $3.3 billion in total spending, visitors account for $2.7 billion or 82% of this spending. Visitor spending generates 75% of GDP impacts, 76% of employment impacts and 62% of the tax impact. Spending by visitors from other countries to the Parks Canada family of natural and historic places totalled $1.16 billion, representing 43% of all visitor spending. Spending by foreign visitors inject new money into the Canadian economy and helps to support a variety of businesses and communities.

The Economic Impact of Parks Canada and The Economic Impact of Canada’s National, Provincial and Territorial Parks in 2009 will serve as a benchmark for any future studies on the economic impact of Canadian parks on the provincial, territorial and national economies.

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