Ottawa, June 29, 2007
2007-056

Archived - Canada's New Government Rolls Out the Welcome Mat to Foreign Tourists

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With the arrival of the summer holiday season, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Carol Skelton, Minister of National Revenue, today highlighted Canada's support for the tourism industry with its new goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) rebate program.

"We are rolling out the welcome mat to foreign visitors" said Minister Flaherty. "The tourism industry contributes to the strength of Canada's economy, and our government is delivering tax relief that will help bring tourists to our great country."

The Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program, announced in Budget 2007, is a new rebate program to promote Canada as a destination of choice. The program provides a GST/HST rebate to:

  • Foreign tourists who purchase an eligible tour package that includes accommodation.
  • Foreign tour operators who purchase accommodation in Canada that is resold to foreign tourists in an eligible tour package.
  • Sponsors and organizers who acquire convention supplies and facilities to conduct a foreign convention in Canada.
  • Foreign exhibitors who acquire convention supplies and space at any convention held in Canada.

"Our government is taking a new approach that will not only be more effective at promoting tourism, but provide Canadian taxpayers with good value for money" said Minister Skelton. "This program focuses on the most competitive parts of the tourism market, such as tour operators and convention organizers."

Industry stakeholders welcomed the new initiative.

"The $17.9 billion hotel industry and its 378,000 employees applaud the new Canadian government's initiative to attract more visitors to our great country" said Tony Pollard, President of the Hotel Association of Canada. "This will further enhance the promotion of Canada to our friends around the world."

"Canada is one of the world's top travel destinations, offering world-class facilities, services and experiences" said Michele McKenzie, President and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission. "We are going to use the new incentive program to encourage international businesses to host their next tour, meeting or convention in Canada."

The rebate program took effect on April 1, 2007. The enabling legislation, the Budget Implementation Act, 2007 (Bill C-52), received Royal Assent on June 22, 2007. In addition, Budget 2007 introduced a new claims and reporting process to make the program more accountable and cost-effective than the previous Visitor Rebate Program.

More detailed information on the program is available on the Canada Revenue Agency website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/whatsnew/menu-e.html.

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For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-996-7861

David Gamble
Media Relations
Department of Finance
613-996-8080

Terence Scheltema
Communications Director
Office of the Minister of National Revenue
613-995-2960
Colette Gentes-Hawn
Media Relations
Canada Revenue Agency
613-957-3522
William Harding
Senior Communications Advisor
Canadian Tourism Commission
604-638-8406

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