News releases

International Visitors Experience Warm Welcome to Canada at the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport

For Immediate Release

OTTAWA, March 12, 2009 — A unique venture was launched at the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport today that will provide international visitors with a sneak peak at some great Canadian travel experiences. The Welcome to Canada initiative, created in anticipation of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, features striking visual images in the international arrivals area that show travellers just how extraordinary those regional experiences can be.

This partnership between the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), the Ontario government and the Ottawa International Airport Authority is the first of several planned transformations of Canadian ports of entry that will promote Canada’s beautiful geography, vivid culture and dynamic people leading up to the 2010 Winter Games.

The Government of Canada understands that the tourism industry is a vital part of Canada’s economic fabric,” said the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism). “The tourism marketing arm of our government – the Canadian Tourism Commission – has implemented a strategy that will drive tourism and promote Canada as a desirable destination before, during and after the 2010 Winter Games.” 

“As the ‘first face’ to visitors to Canada, the CBSA and its employees in particular, will play a significant role in contributing to the success of the Games,” said Richard Comerford, CBSA Regional Director General, Northern Ontario Region. “Our planning and preparations for the 2010 Winter Games is on schedule and we are looking forward to welcoming travellers from all over the world and doing our part to ensure a safe and secure Games.”

“Ontario recognizes that tourism is an important economic driver and creates jobs in communities across the province,” said the Honourable Monique Smith, Ontario Minister of Tourism. “The Welcome to Canada initiative is a great opportunity for visitors to discover Ontario and strengthen our tourism industry.”

“The Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is proud to be the first venue in the country to support this project,” said President and CEO Paul Benoit. “International visitors arriving in Ottawa will havea first hand view of some of the great experiences that await them in Canada.”

The CBSA is working to ensure that travellers coming for the Games will not face unnecessary delays at our border, while protecting the safety and security of all Canadians and visitors. To do this, the CBSA will be ramping-up capacity at specific Ports of Entry as well as implementing new and innovative processes to meet the operational requirements of the 2010 Winter Games.

The CTC and the CBSA are partnering together on the Welcome to Canada initiative to showcase Canada and profile its tourism industry before, during and after the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The rollout of this initiative will continue at various ports of entry across the country in the months leading up to the 2010 Winter Games. The images and messages will be customized to suit selected regions at major ports of entry across Canada. This initiative is also an excellent opportunity to enhance the overall look CBSA's public areas in selected ports of entry and add to the visitor arrival experience.

Tourism activity in Canada represents 2% of Canada’s overall GDP, a significant economic factor comparable to agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting combined. The 2010 Winter Games provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate global awareness of Canada’s tourism brand and add depth and dimension to Canada’s image as a unique tourism destination.

For Backgrounder, Photos and Video, please visit:

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About the CTC

The CTC is Canada’s national tourism marketing organization. Our vision is inspiring the world to explore Canada. With our partners in the tourism industry and the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories, we advertise and market Canada in twelve countries around the world, conduct industry research and studies, and promote product and industry development. For weekly updates on CTC initiatives, subscribe to CTC News, available through RSS feeds and by e-mail.

For further information, please contact:

Janet Miller
Senior Communications Advisor/Conseillère en communications
Canadian Tourism Commission / Commission canadienne du tourisme
Tel/ Tél 604 638-8411
Fax/ Téléc 604-638-8438
miller [dot] janet [at] ctc-cct [dot] ca

Media Relations
Canada Border Services Agency - Headquarters

Ontario Ministry of Tourism
Lisa Marie DiLollo, Tourism Minister’s Office, (416) 325-4543
Amalia Kyriacou, Communications Branch, 416-314-6590

News_Release_Welcome_to_Canada_EN.pdf42.95 KB