Toronto, Ontario, March 6, 2012—The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), today delivered remarks at an awards luncheon held during the 20th Annual Hotel Association of Canada Conference. Minister of State Bernier also visited the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association Show, the restaurant industry's largest event of the year, and met the winning chef of the Discovered Culinary Competition.
"Tourism drives growth and creates jobs in every region of Canada," said Minister of State Bernier. "Talented tourism entrepreneurs, like today's award winners, ensure that Canada is an all-season international destination worth exploring and is renowned for its world-class hospitality and warm welcome."
In his address, the Minister of State mentioned a recent meeting between industry representatives and delegates from over 15 federal departments and agencies that have a role in tourism. This meeting, a commitment under the government's Federal Tourism Strategy, was the first of its kind. More frequent collaboration between industry and government will facilitate the exchange of information, enable industry to play a more strategic role with government and foster coordinated and effective action.
Minister of State Bernier went on to explain that efforts are being made to increase the processing time of visas for foreign travellers, highlighting the recent announcement by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to increase the number of visa application centres worldwide from 60 up to 150 by 2014.
Following the awards luncheon, the Minister of State toured the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association Show, at which the finals of the Discovered Culinary Competition were being held. The winner of this competition, a four-month search for new Canadian culinary talent, receives a unique cooking opportunity in northern Spain. Minister of State Bernier met with the winning chef and celebrated the exemplary skills of Canada's restaurant personnel.
"Our government is proud to promote Canada to the world, knowing business owners and operators are dedicated to the highest level of customer service," said Minister of State Bernier. "We encourage continued training and collaboration at every level to increase Canada's appeal, to promote an entrepreneurial spirit and to ensure that the tourism sector creates jobs and growth."
To download a copy of the Federal Tourism Strategy or for additional information, please visit the Supporting Tourism website.
For further information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)