Mayor bound for China to woo tourists to Ottawa
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May 26, 2011  |  Vote 0    0

Mayor bound for China to woo tourists to Ottawa

Ottawa East News

Ottawa’s tourism industry must grab the opportunity to find new ways to attract tourists and investment from the fast-growing Chinese market, Mayor Jim Watson told tourism and hotel operators on May 19.

Watson will be leading a delegation to China in mid June to look at ways in which Ottawa can capitalize on the rapid growth from the world's second largest economy.

While in China, the group will attend the Beijing International Tourism Festival from June 15 to 19.

“China is a critical market for Ottawa’s future prosperity, and our sister city relation with Beijing will only further strengthen our cooperative relationship,” said Watson. “This trade mission will affirm our commitment to international relations with China at the most senior level of municipal governments, and will promote Ottawa as the preferred destination for tourism, post-secondary education and investment.”

Delegates will come from organizations including the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, Ottawa Tourism, the Ottawa Convention Centre, the Ottawa Airport, the Delta Hotel, The Westin Hotel, and the Lord Elgin.

According to Watson, 31.6 million outbound Chinese tourists travelled abroad in 2009 and spent $43.7 billion on their travels despite the economic downturn.

It is projected that by 2020 China will have 100 million international visitors, making it the largest outbound tourism market in the world.

“We need to get our share of this huge new market that is naturally attracted to Canada,” said Watson.

He added that China is a critical market for Ottawa’s future prosperity.

Between now and 2013, the City of Ottawa hopes to see an increase in the number of visits from China to Ottawa from 14,000 in 2009 to 25,000 in 2013.

“This increase of almost 56 per cent is ambitious but achievable,” Watson stated.

The mission to Beijing is intended to promote Ottawa’s status as an approved destination for Chinese tourists, give the Ottawa airport an opportunity to meet with airlines that fly to Canada and direct more foreign investment to Ottawa.

“Realising these goals means working together to ensure we are known in China and other key places as a great place to visit.

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