February 20, 2020

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PCs pledge more funding for tourism

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>PC party leader Brian Pallister makes a $1.02 million tourism funding announcement at The Forks on Wednesday.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

PC party leader Brian Pallister makes a $1.02 million tourism funding announcement at The Forks on Wednesday.

Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives say they would tout more local tourism if re-elected to government on Sept. 10.

Near the Winnipeg sign at The Forks Wednesday, Pallister announced his party would boost its investment and give Travel Manitoba around $3 million more in annual funding, to stimulate growth in Manitoba's $1.5 billion tourism industry.

"While the results to date have been outstanding, I think every proud Manitoban knows there's still a lot of untapped potential," Pallister said.

"There's significant demand for the types of four-season travel experiences that Manitoba can offer. And it's time to build on the incredible momentum that we have been seeing."

The extra funding would be partly used to develop a strategy to attract more major events to Manitoba. Pallister deferred to Travel Manitoba when it came to what types of events would be recruited, but said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of using financial incentives to attract event organizers.

Colin Ferguson, president and CEO of Travel Manitoba, said a boosted budget would allow them to be more aggressive with marketing in neighbouring provinces and the U.S.

"And when you consider that we're not going to be spending this money on adding more staff or adding new buildings...these dollars are going right back into marketing the province of Manitoba, which is fueling this win-win-win formula for everybody," he said.

"Industry wins. Government wins. Travel Manitoba wins."

The NDP and Liberal parties were less enthusiastic.

"Unlike Brian Pallister, Wab Kinew likes to spend time in Manitoba. That’s why he understands investments in tourism are an important part of Manitoba’s economy," NDP spokesperson Emily Coutts said by email.

"Brian Pallister seems to have lots to say about tourism, yet when is the last time Brian Pallister took a vacation in Manitoba? How much time has he spent on vacation in Manitoba, as opposed to outside?" Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said in a written statement.

"These are empty promises. Manitoba Liberals are offering a team that is passionate about improving Manitoba for all."

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @_jessbu

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski
Legislature reporter

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 10:12 PM CDT: Updates figures.

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