Canada is slipping down the list of the world’s most popular countries for incoming tourism. Naturally, this means that the Canadians are earning less money from the multi-billion dollar industry. Taxes and visas are thought to be the reasons behind the mini crisis.
Canada has, for a long time, had the reputation of being one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, free of political horrors, wars and with relatively low crime rates. Canadians were known as foreigner-loving people, who were very proud to show tourists their vast and beautiful homeland. The maple leaf on the Canadian flag even became one of the world’s leading brands, a symbol of freedom, equality and a high standard of living. The situation, however, is changing as Canada is slipping down the pecking order.
The first reason is that Canada has made its immigration laws a lot stricter. To take two examples: Mexican and Czech visitors never needed visa to enter the country, however now they have to have them. This has almost destroyed inbound tourism from these two countries as Mexicans and Czechs have started to look elsewhere. The second reason is that taxes and security costs have crippled many tourists. Ottawa has been strongly criticized for increasing airport taxes.
The final reason is perhaps the most significant: that there are many countries around the globe with rapidly improving tourism sectors. Austria, Germany, Malaysia and the Ukraine, to name just a few, have or are about to surpass Canada in terms of inbound tourism. New markets are getting stronger and providing greater competition for Canada. Tourists now prefer to go to more unknown and much cheaper destinations without the insult of a visa and the financial burden of high taxes.