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RVC 2024: What Aussie travel businesses can steal from Destination Canada’s 2030 playbook

Canada has a problem. According to Destination Canada President and CEO Marsha Walden, Canada’s global competitiveness has been slipping since 2009.

Canada has a problem. According to Destination Canada President and CEO Marsha Walden, Canada’s global competitiveness has been slipping since 2009.

“We’ve honestly struggled to keep pace with the advancements in other countries,” she told media at this year’s Rendez-Vous Canada (RVC) in Edmonton.

Swap out the word ‘countries’ for ‘businesses’ in the above paragraph. Sound familiar? This is not an uncommon problem for any business. How do you grow and protect your business in an uncertain world? How do you compete? Stay relevant?

“We believe that without true bottom-line prosperity for our sector on an ongoing basis, we jeopardise the future investment in our industry and will be more vulnerable to future economic shocks,” Walden said.

Destination Canada President and CEO, Marsha Walden
Destination Canada President and CEO Marsha Walden.

Walden was speaking at the unveiling of Destination Canada’s new tourism strategy set to see it through to the remainder of the decade. Dubbed A World of Opportunity, the goal of the 2030 strategy goes beyond an added $150 million per day in tourism into Canada or even a plan to make Canada a Top 7 global destination by 2030. It’s all about something Destination Canada calls true sustainable prosperity.

While ‘sustainable’ often implies environmental responsibility, its core meaning is ensuring something endures and thrives. Destination Canada seeks the same – transformative growth that strengthens the tourism industry for the long haul.

Sustainable travel isn’t just a token box to tick. It’s a strategic approach often dismissed in a world of greenwashing. But forget saving the planet for a moment: sustainable practices are demonstrably good for business.

What’s in it for you

According to Destination Canada Australia Managing Director Julie King, “By aligning with Destination Canada’s Tourism 2030 vision, the Australian travel industry can tap into this growing market of conscious travellers and contribute to a global movement towards sustainable tourism”. 

“This is not just beneficial for business but also vital for preserving the natural and cultural heritage that makes travel experiences transformational,” she said.

King told Karryon that we are witnessing a rise in conscious consumers in Australia, travellers who are intent on using their journeys as a force for positive change.

Julie King
Destination Canada Australia Managing Director Julie King

“Travellers want to know they are adding value to communities, not taking away from them,” King said. “They seek enriching experiences that contribute positively to the community and environment.”

“Aligning with our commitment to support and promote regenerative practices to facilitate sustainable, responsible growth of our sector, positions the Australian travel industry as a leader in responsible tourism and aligns with the growing consumer demand for sustainable travel options.”

Here’s how sustainable tourism future-proofs your business:

  • Tap into a growing market: Eco-conscious travellers are a booming demographic. Sustainable practices make you an attractive choice.
  • Boost your reputation: Sustainability demonstrates responsibility, attracting environmentally conscious travellers and enhancing your brand image.
  • Command premium pricing: Unique, sustainable experiences can justify higher prices, increasing profit margins.
  • Invest in your product: Nobody wins if we don’t have a product to sell.

How Destination Canada is working with the Australian travel industry

Leading the way in sustainable travel, Destination Canada’s Australia Office has partnered with Australian travel companies, including Karryon, in an industry-first pledge to work together for good. This collaboration will combine expertise and resources to ensure the travel industry aligns with Canada’s commitment to sustainability and regeneration.

King told Karryon that Destination Canada’s pledge partners “will collaborate on our efforts, knowledge, and resources to educate the wider travel industry on the principles of Canada’s regeneration, equity, and sustainability.”

In doing so, Destination Canada aims “to strategically enhance Canada’s product offerings to positively impact the environment, culture, society, and economy.” 

“This will, in turn, prioritise community-led programs and support Indigenous experiences,” King said. 

She added that these partners will also be “essential” in educating the industry and creating demand for unique experiences in lesser-known regions of Canada. 

“This collaborative approach will help develop new tourism products and alleviate pressure on popular destinations during peak periods, therefore promoting a more balanced and sustainable tourism landscape.

“Partners will be able to actively engage in initiatives such as investing in/encouraging clients to support tourism projects that benefit local communities, ensuring that tourism revenue contributes to local development.

“Our goal is to cultivate a community united by the shared purpose of transformation and regeneration.”

Here’s how it will work.

“We will integrate principles of regeneration, equity and sustainability into toolkits, training modules, content we generate and storytellers we introduce to create awareness. This will ensure that all stakeholders, from industry partners to travellers, are well informed and equipped to make responsible choices.

“We will be providing first-hand experiences through workshops, famil trips, and immersive programs which will allow members of the trade to see the benefits of these practices in action.

“Launching partnerships with an omni-channel approach will help in spreading the importance of sustainable and a regenerative approach to travel to a broader audience.”

Because tourism matters

Minister of Tourism Canada Soraya Martinez Ferrada attended her first RVC this year. And she didn’t pussyfoot around the tough subjects. 

Minister of Tourism of Canada
Soraya Martinez Ferrada
Minister of Tourism of Canada Soraya Martinez Ferrada

“We know that Canada has what travellers want: a sense of connection, of real experience and safety.

“And we are addressing climate change. It’s kind of the elephant in the room. Climate change is an existential threat to tourism. And we need to fight this all together. It’s not an instant on and off. It’s the constant approach to fighting climate change. 

“Tourism is common ground. It’s more than numbers. In a world of isolation, tourism is about connection. In a world of division, tourism is about unity. And honestly, we can use a lot of tourism in this world.”

For more on Destination Canada, head to:

For more information on the initiative or to join the pledge, please email