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China Grants Canada Approved Destination Status

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Vancouver is a key gateway to North America from Asia Pacific, and as such is well positioned to receive significant increases in travel as a result of the approval by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to grant Approved Destination Status (ADS) to Canada.

“ADS puts us on a level playing field with other destinations that are competing aggressively for the growing Chinese travel market,” said Stephen Pearce, vice president of Leisure Travel and Digital Marketing for Tourism Vancouver. “The announcement of ADS, in conjunction with the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, will give Canada great profile in the marketplace, and eliminate an important perceptual barrier to travel.”

“We have seen year-over-year growth from the Chinese tourism market even through this economic downturn, and we now welcome over 90,000 visitors per year from mainland China, with another 70,000 from Hong Kong,” he added. “This is an incredibly important market and ADS will allow us to tap its full potential. Our goal is to receive 300,000 visitors per year from this market by 2015.”

Visitors currently travelling to Canada from China are doing so for business, government and educational purposes. Individual tourism travel is also permitted, however, ADS allows Canada to host group tours and to market the destination in China with offers to the tour and travel community, complete with pricing information.

“The impact of this status goes far beyond the big boost for Vancouver’s tourism industry,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This decision benefits economic relations between our City and China, strengthens cultural ties, and creates opportunities for Vancouver’s citizens and businesses. It's great timing as we prepare to host the world for the 2010 Winter Games.”

The Canadian tourism industry has been preparing for ADS for several years by training Chinese tour operators and agents, hosting media and travel industry familiarization tours, attending trade shows, and working with inbound receptive tour operators to develop high-quality travel itineraries ready for the Chinese group travel market. The opening of the Canadian Tourism Commission office in Beijing in 2005 marked the beginning of a period of sustained investment in China by the Canadian tourism industry in preparing the infrastructure for increased visitation.

Duncan Dee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada, said, “I want to express Air Canada's gratitude to Prime Minister Stephen Harper for delivering Approved Destination Status to Canada after many years of negotiations between the two countries. This opens significant opportunities for Air Canada to further build on its already extensive service to China and Asia and should boost the Canadian economy by making Canada an even more attractive destination for the increasing number of Chinese people who are travelling abroad for pleasure as well as business.”

The Canadian federal government estimates the Approved Destination Status designation will add $100 million a year in increased revenue for the Canadian tourism industry and translate into up to 50,000 more Chinese arrivals per year in Canada.

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