Travel Manitoba falling short in achieving tourism goals: Auditor General
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba is quickly becoming a tourism hotspot, with places like Churchill gaining international attention as a great getaway, but according to the province's Auditor General – Travel Manitoba is falling short.
The most recent report from Manitoba Auditor General Norm Ricard, said Travel Manitoba does not have "adequate systems and practices" in place to reach tourism goals and objectives in the province.
The province's tourism sector is a big contributor to Manitoba's economy, attracting nearly 11.4 million people in 2017, who spent more than $1.6 billion during their visit, according to Ricard.
"Travel Manitoba has developed a number of plans and strategies to support and grow this sector. It now needs to focus on implementing these plans and strategies, and reporting on the results," Ricard said in news release.
Ricard pointed out, while Travel Manitoba has made goals – the crown agency has not considered the risks that could affect tourism. The example Ricard used was Churchill – a main driver of tourism in Manitoba, having been named among the top places in the world to visit by the New York Times.
He said Travel Manitoba has identified climate change as a low risk to tourism.
"The loss of the polar bear’s environment due to climate change would have a significant impact on tourism," Ricard said.
In the report Ricard gives four recommendations for Travel Manitoba to work on:
- Travel Manitoba conduct a risk assessment for all tourism strategies, including short, medium and long-term risks, and identify measures to mitigate significant risks;
- Travel Manitoba identify existing resources, funding required and its sources, staff requirements, and which other stakeholders are required to support the initiatives identified by the strategies;
- Travel Manitoba issue separate progress reports on the strategies, which would include what other parties involved in implementing the initiatives have achieved;
- Travel Manitoba ensures that monitoring and reporting information is easily locatable and publicly accessible.
ROOM TO GROW FOR TRAVEL MANITOBA: PRESIDENT
Travel Manitoba President and CEO Colin Ferguson said he's thankful for the feedback from the audit, but added he hopes the critic doesn't overshadow the strides Tourism Manitoba has made.
"We're not perfect. I don't know that there's company out there as it is," Ferguson said. "So for the Office of the Auditor General to find a few things and make recommendations – we look at that as a positive."
Ferguson said Travel Manitoba will be reviewing the report and will be looking at implementing the recommendations, some of which are already in place in the agency.
Manitoba's Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler told CTV News in a written comment, the province will continue to work with Travel Manitoba to support tourism strategies.
"The results speak for themselves. Tourism numbers are up. Manitoba attractions are winning awards, and our province is being named a place to visit by Lonely Planet and the New York Times. Our plan is working," Eichler said.
You can read the Auditor General's full report here:
(Source: Auditor General Manitoba)