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This is the year to visit Canada. The nation is celebrating its 150th anniversary of confederation, when the original colonies came together as one country. Canada is rolling out its New Tourism Vision plan to welcome more tourists.  All of the country’s more than 200 national parks and historic sites are offering free admission through the year.

Canada is ranked the 7th happiest country in the world in a new report, and it is competing to be a top 10 destination in the global tourism sector by 2025. This is an initiative for economic growth.

According to CIC News (Canada Immigration Newsletter), the government’s New Tourism Vision aims to increase the number of international tourists by 30 per cent by 2021. The plan is to double the number of Chinese tourists coming to Canada over the next four years. As more international tourists choose Canada there will be more jobs for Canadian youth and small businesses will get a boost in every region of the country.

The New York Times, Lonely Planet and Condé Nast have recognized Canada as the top international destination for 2017. Canada is world-renowned for its beautiful natural wonders, bustling cities, welcoming culture, and international festivals.

Twenty million travelers chose Canada in 2016, an increase of 11 per cent from 2015.

To reach the goal through New Tourism Vision, the government will increase funding for marketing, and make Canada easier to access for international travelers.

In addition to Chinese visitors, the government also plans to increase the number of tourists from our neighbor to the south. The United States accounts for 70 per cent of overnight visitors to Canada, and is Canada’s single largest source of international tourists.

Other more practical changes that are underway include expanding the electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) system to new markets. Eligible Brazilians, Bulgarians, and Romanians can benefit from the visa-exempt system and Mexican nationals are now required to obtain an eTA before flying to Canada, rather than a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

In addition, Canada is expanding its network of visa application centres (VACs). In China, for example, seven new VACs are scheduled to open – more than double the current number. These new VACs will help increase the numbers of visitors from China during the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism.

Apart from American citizens and a select few other individuals, visitors to Canada require either an eTA or a TRV before boarding their flight to Canada.

Visitors to Canada should be aware of the entry requirements for their nationality. There are potential snags and delays in the application process, so it is important to do your homework and before taking your trip.

Read our Tips on How to Successfully Apply For A Visitor Visa in the April 2017 issue.

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Aline Xuân Uyên
Aline xuân Uyên is an immigration specialist in Canadian immigration services with more than 12 years of experience in the field. She is a member of ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council) ID# R416447. Contact her at Apex Migration Services 416-679-8898.