With the border between Canada and the U.S. currently closed, the value of cross-border travel to the tourism industry has never been more clear. Tourism is a key economic driver for the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) which consists of the U.S. states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and the Canadian provinces and territories of Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon. The region averages $71.4 billion in visitor expenditures each year!
- The value of international travel will be greatly diminished for the foreseeable future, that industry and government need to pivot, and regional tourism will be increasingly important in the coming years of recovery.
- Tourism provides a competitive opportunity for our cross border region as it thrives in a connected and well-organized regional ecosystem. When one PNWER state, province, or territory does well, the other states, provinces, and territories benefit.
- Sustainable tourism is a growth opportunity for every jurisdiction in the PNWER region, especially as small and rural communities evolve from extractive primary industries.
- Tourism is a labour and employment-rich industry, delivering much-needed jobs that cannot be outsourced.
- Tourism is a valuable export sector in need of rescue, wanting to collaborate with government to recover safely and be able to compete against other destinations already re-emerging from the COVID-19 crisis.
With respect to the health concerns of Canadians and Americans, Tourism wants to operate safely, but it does want to operate. We want to enhance the health safety of all citizens, both local and the traveling public. We strive to emerge from this crisis safely, stronger and more resilient for the future. With this in mind, we believe that, when both governments agree that it is safe to do so, Canada and the U.S. must present a strong, safe, and well-coordinated border reopening message that achieves the following objectives and principles:
"Rebound of the tourism sector is essential for a return to economic stability given the deep impact across many sectors of the economy. Let's work together to open up our shared borders!"
-MLA Richard Gotfried, AB
PNWER Vice President
Ensuring a safe, sustainable, and competitive regional tourism ecosystem through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis will contribute to the long-term prosperity of the region and aid in jumpstarting other economic sectors. We stand with businesses, workers, and advocacy organizations to urge our governments and all Americans and Canadians to come together to support Tourism and recognize the value it brings to our region.
MLA Richard Gotfried
Legislative Asssembly of Alberta
PNWER Vice President
Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER)
Matt Morrison, Executive Director
Kwame Neba, Director of Industry Development
Border Policy Research Institute
Laurie Trautman, Director
Diane Norton, Idaho Tourism Manager
Bruce Agnew, Director