CHURCHILL— Tourism Week in Canada is a grassroots initiative to raise awareness of the economic opportunities available through travel and tourism, and Premier Brian Pallister is visiting the town today to help advance growth in this important part of the region’s economy.
“There is tremendous demand for the types of travel experiences offered here including northern and Indigenous tourism, nature and wildlife, and world-class water-based experiences,” said Pallister. “Churchill is the crown jewel of northern Manitoba, and our government is committed to working in partnership with the community to advance sustainable economic and social development in the region.”
The premier met with Churchill Chamber of Commerce members to discuss tourism and economic development opportunities. He also visited the Itsanitaq Museum and viewed its collection of Inuit carvings and artifacts, which are among the finest and oldest in the world.
In April, the Manitoba government, Travel Manitoba and the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce launched a new Provincial Tourism Strategy aimed at increasing tourist expenditures to $2.2 billion by 2022. The strategy affirms the importance of continuing to support Churchill as Manitoba’s leading global destination for wilderness and wildlife experiences. It notes maximizing direct air access to Churchill and utilizing existing rail infrastructure as ways to improve access for tourism and further develop the sector.
“The community of Churchill has made great strides forward in developing its tourism sector and the authentic experiences that are offered, and we want to keep this momentum growing,” said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen, who attended with the premier today. “With the support of our partners, including Travel Manitoba and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, we are working to significantly grow the scope and diversity of Indigenous tourism experiences in the province.”
The premier noted the new tourism strategy is the second sector strategy unveiled as part of Manitoba’s Economic Growth Action Plan, which focuses on collaborative action to grow local companies and industries, create jobs, attract talent and investment, and increase the economic competitiveness of the province.
To support economic development and tourism sector growth, the premier highlighted some of the key investments the province is making in Churchill including:
- Gravel road upgrades along Twin Lake Road to the Churchill Wildlife Management Area to improve ride quality and safety, reduce vehicle wear and tear, and enhance the travel experience for tourists. The project is part of $45 million in infrastructure investments being made for Manitoba’s 150th anniversary and is expected to be completed in time to celebrate the province’s sesquicentennial.
- Repairs and restoration work at the Churchill Town Centre Complex. The refurbishment of the theatre – which the town uses for school concerts, graduation ceremonies and community meetings, as well as for movies, performances by music and theatre groups, and presentations on polar bears geared to tourists – is on time and on budget. The $1.9-million project is expected to be completed this fall. The province is also investing a further $5 million in much-needed repairs to the building’s exterior.
- Phase 1 construction of the University of Manitoba’s Churchill Marine Observatory has begun. Pouring of the concrete foundation and other base structural work is underway. The university has confirmed the project is proceeding on budget and phase 2 is expected to be tendered this summer. The Manitoba government is providing up to $9 million to the university to support the construction.
Manitoba’s tourism sector contributes more than three per cent to the province’s GDP, and expects to see a 19 per cent increase in visitors by 2022, attracting 12.6 million local, national and international visitors, up from 10.6 million visitors in 2016.
As part of the Economic Growth Action Plan, the province identified the Communities Economic Development Fund as its regional economic development partner for northern Manitoba to co-ordinate the delivery of services for companies, entrepreneurs and communities, and lead implementation of the Look North initiative. Learn more about the plan at manitobagrowth.ca.
More information on Look North is available at www.gov.mb.ca/looknorth/news.html.
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