In early July 2016, the Government of Canada and the governments of the four Atlantic Provinces launched the Atlantic Growth Strategy that will direct targeted actions to stimulate the Atlantic Canadian economy, including supporting key projects that support long-term growth and position the region to capitalize on emerging opportunities. The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) is an example of the kind of collaboration that will help create jobs and re-invigorate the region’s growth.
The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) brings together the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the provincial departments responsible for tourism in New Brunswick , Newfoundland and Labrador , Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and the four provincial tourism industry associations.
The ACAT’s mission is simple – grow the tourism industry in Atlantic Canada. In 2017, tourism represented an estimated $4.5 billion in non-resident spending in Atlantic Canada, supporting over 57,000 full time equivalent jobs in all four Atlantic provinces.
The ACAT drives growth in the sector by promoting travel to Atlantic Canada through research-driven marketing campaigns and activities in key international markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, as well as to select markets within Canada. The ACAT markets Atlantic Canada with major consumer advertising campaigns, travel trade programs and media relations activities.
The 2017 – 2020 ACAT delivered strong results. The initiative generated $34.5 million in tourism revenue for Atlantic Canada. This represents a return of $34.90 for every dollar invested in its travel trade marketing campaigns. Media relations activities resulted in a total of $8.9 million in earned media value. Thanks to the ACAT, more visitors from the United States and around the world are discovering Atlantic Canada’s charms.
The ACAT is a powerful example of the benefits of government working with the tourism industry in pursuit of shared goals. It allows the four provinces to penetrate markets that are mostly inaccessible individually; intensify their international tourism marketing efforts; generate marketing economies and efficiencies and extend the reach and frequency of provincial and tourism brands in the United States and delivers a regional “Atlantic Canada” brand into priority overseas markets.
Funding for the 2017-2020 initiative, valued at $19.95 million, is cost-shared by the partners, with 50 per cent contributed by ACOA, 33 per cent contributed by the four Atlantic provinces and 17 per cent contributed by the four tourism industry associations in Atlantic Canada.
ACAT Management Committee Members include:
- Cindy Bourque – Chair, Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick
- Yennah Hurley – Deputy Minister, Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture
Newfoundland and Labrador:
- Brenda O’Reilly – Chair, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador
- Carol-Ann Gillard – Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
- Kevin Toth – Director, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia
- Darlene MacDonald – Acting Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Nova Scotia, Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage
Prince Edward Island:
- Kevin Samuel – President, Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island
- Kent MacDonald – Chief Executive Officer, Tourism PEI, Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture
- Patrick Dorsey – Vice President, ACOA , P.E.I. and Tourism
- Kelly Power – Director General, Tourism, ACOA
- Sebastien Dubois, Executive Director, Industry Partnerships, Destination Canada
- Corryn Clemence – Secretariat, ACAT