Canadian Tourism Commission may re-locate to Vancouver 

Local tourism organizations say the move would be good for business

Local tourism groups are excited by the prospect of Canada’s national tourism organization re-locating its head office to Vancouver from Ottawa.

"From Tourism Whistler’s perspective to have the national tourism body right here in our own backyard would certainly be a coup for tourism because it potentially makes for a closer working relationship," said Barrett Fisher, president of Tourism Whistler.

The potential move of the Canadian Tourism Commission has been on the discussion table ever since Liberal candidates in B.C. vowed during the 2004 federal election campaign to bring the CTC to the West Coast.

During last week’s federal budget discussion Industry Minister David Emerson, B.C.’s senior cabinet minister, again raised the prospect of moving the $84-million-a-year Crown corporation to Vancouver.

Of the CTC’s move he told the Vancouver Sun newspaper: "Well, for me it’s a done deal because politically I have to deliver it or I’m toast, and you can quote me on that."

The federal budget outlined a one-time payment of $25 million to the CTC. It is unclear if this is for the move or for other expenditures associated with selling Canada to travellers worldwide.

No date has been set for the announcement about the move.

Meanwhile Fisher said it would make sense to have the CTC in the west as the country gears up to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and as opportunities increase in the Asia Pacific markets and China.

But, she said, Tourism Whistler’s relationship would continue to be strong whether the CTC moves here or not.

"It has not been officially announced so we are not sure it will even happen," she said. "(If the move happened) we would certainly embrace it and support it but we will also embrace it and support it if it remains in Ottawa."

Paul Vallee, executive vice president of Tourism Vancouver said he would also welcome the CTC re-location.

"It would be a great benefit for the industry out here if (the CTC) were located here," he said.

"With 2010 coming being here in the years leading up to 2010 and beyond, I think, will get them much more engaged in the benefits 2010 brings, not just to B.C. but to Canada as a whole.

"They are a great partner already but having them out here I really think will be beneficial to the industry."

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