Martin in Whistler to make tourism announcement 

Canadian Tourism Commission expected to move from Ottawa to Vancouver

Prime Minister Paul Martin and Minister of Industry David Emerson are in Whistler today (Thursday, March 31) for an "important announcement on Canadian tourism."

It is expected they will be announcing the move of the Canadian Tourism Commission to Vancouver from Ottawa.

Moving the CTC to Vancouver was one of Emerson's electoral promises. He was quoted in the Vancouver Sun as saying that "he'd be toast" if he does not follow through on it.

It's a move that both Tourism Whistler and Tourism Vancouver have said would be beneficial for B.C.

In anticipation of the announcement Michael Campbell, president of the Council of Tourism Associations of B.C., issued a release Wednesday applauding Emerson for "bringing the Canadian Tourism Commission to Vanocouver."

Campbell stated in his release: "Extending the confederate universe out West has far less to do with politics than some critics are suggesting. The move actually reverses a political tide that so far has kept most of Canada's crown corporations in the East."

Moving the CTC to Vancouver is part of the Martin government’s efforts to strengthen ties to the West but also to take advantage of the growing importance of Asia, a point Campbell made in his release.

"While Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia make up the top three tourism destinations in Canada, only B.C. positions Canada within equal reach of Asia and Europe. Flight times to Tokyo and London may be the same for CTC staff whether in Vancouver or Ottawa, but only Vancouver offers direct flights to Frankfurt and Tokyo. Meanwhile, Vancouver is the only one of the two that offers direct flights to Beijing. This is important.

"First, you have to understand the sheer purchasing power of China. Millions of outbound travellers there are waiting to unleash a spending spree on Canada the likes of which will see Guangzhu residents sea kayaking the shores of Newfoundland and Beijing globe trotters comfortable in the nipping cold of Quebec City's carnival."

Martin and Emerson were at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for the announcement.

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