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B.C. deserves CTC, Martin says

Whistler welcomes news that Canadian Tourism Commission will move to Vancouver



Tourism leaders in Whistler and Vancouver believe the federal government’s decision to move the national tourism agency to B.C. will mean greater success for the province.

"We are ecstatic, absolutely ecstatic," said Barrett Fisher, president of Tourism Whistler.

"It is a very exciting move and it is critical from our perspective (in) how we grow tourism for the upcoming Olympics (and) the opening up of China."

Fisher was not alone is her belief that the Canadian Tourism Commission’s re-location to Vancouver from Ottawa will be good for B.C.

"The CTC is such a strong agency that this will link them even more closely with the Olympics, even more closely with the convention centre expansion, and with Asia Pacific," said Rick Antonson, president of Tourism Vancouver.

"We now, in Canada, have a galvanized tourism industry and much can happen in the coming years. Yes, we are going to need more federal and provincial resources across the country. But tourism is about to (produce) a profound impact from our country on the world stage and that hearkens really well for the country."

Prime Minister Paul Martin announced the move in Whistler last Thursday during a brief visit to the resort. It’s the first time a federal agency has been moved to B.C.

"British Columbia deserves to be home to a major federal organization," said Martin.

B.C.’s Small Business and Economic Development Minister John Les also welcomed the announcement.

"With less than five years until our Olympic dream is fulfilled, B.C.’s tourism industry is moving into new golden decades of opportunity," he said in a statement.

"We look forward to working with the CTC in Vancouver to focus our collective energy on opportunities related to the 2010 Winter Games, to develop some solid tourism partnerships and to raise Canada’s profile around the globe."

Federal Industry Minster David Emerson (Vancouver-Kingsway) has been promising the move ever since he was elected in 2004.

"This is a triumph of merit over politics," said B.C.’s senior elected cabinet minister, adding that while the CTC is a small organization the move sends a strong message about the importance of the West to the federal government.

"It is not like this is the rape and pillage of the whole job base in the province of Ontario," said Emerson. "This is relatively small but it is very meaningful. It was part of the B.C. agenda to get it done. It was not in there because we wanted some political pork-barreling.

"We need to have the Canadian Tourism Commission in B.C. to take advantage of what I call a once in a generation opportunity to lever off of the Olympics and the fact that the Asia Pacific market is a huge and growing market for all of Canada. We need to be closer to that market so we can be effective."

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