By Karyn Pugliese | Published May 7th, 2012
Tonight at 8 pm ET watch on ichannel or join us online to listen to our interview with the Liberal MP for St. Barbe – Baie Verte, Newfoundland and Labrador, Gerry Byrne.
Melissa from North York starts the ball rolling this week, asking Former Liberal tourism critic, and the current Critic for Economic Development in Atlantic Canada, Gerry Byrne, how travel in Canada can be made more affordable. She notes she visited Paris last year, and the cost of the flight was cheaper than flying to Newfoundland.
Tourism is one area Byrne agrees Canada needs to develop economically. His home province of Newfoundland and Labrador has worked hard to promote tourism, and attracts 500,000 tourists each year.
“If Canada were able to do the exact same thing we would have 33 million passengers, 33 million tourists, to take in everything that is great about our country,” says Byrne. And — it goes without saying — to drop tourism dollars into the Canadian economy.
Byrne agrees with Melissa that the high cost of air travel is a problem that discourages both domestic and foreign tourism. Canada, he says, is consistently listed by potential tourists as the number one place they’d like to visit, but less tourists are coming each year. In fact, Byrne says Canada has slipped from number 7 to number 15 as a travel destination. Air travel costs are part of the problem, and to get those costs down Byrnes says Canada needs to create economies of scale, which ironically means prices won’t drop until we attract more tourists. So how do you break what sounds like a vicious cycle, especially considering the economic woes plaguing European and US economies?