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Tourism industry may have to live off domestic travel until the fall, says minister – CBC News



The tourism and hospitality sector has been among those most severely affected by the pandemic. With uncertainty over the Omicron variant persisting, the federal minister responsible for the industry said the return of international travellers could still be a long way off.

“During the darkest days of the pandemic, Destination Canada, which normally takes its money and markets Canada to the rest of the world, took that money and marketed inside Canada, to travel,” Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault told CBC News.

“I think to at least [the third quarter] of 2022, we’re going to have to see more of that.”

In Canada, domestic travellers account for 78 per cent of tourism spending. But international visitors spend an average of $1,047 per trip, while domestic vacationers spend less than a quarter of that.

WATCH Tourism industry may have to live off domestic travel until the fall, says minister

Tourism industry may have to live off domestic travel until the fall, says minister

10 hours ago

Duration 1:48

The tourism and hospitality sector has been among those most severely affected by the pandemic. With uncertainty over the Omicron variant persisting, Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault said the return of international travellers could still be a long way off. 1:48

“Domestic travel is a crucial step to getting our industry back up and running but [it] will not be able to fill the revenue gap from the halt of international travel,” Beth Potter, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, told CBC News. 

The sector has contracted by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic, falling from a $105 billion-a-year industry before the pandemic to one worth about $53 billion now. That’s a drop of 40 per cent in domestic spending and 87 per cent in spending by international visitors.

Industry stakeholders like Potter say that the sector faces three significant challenges over the next year. The first is simply to survive until visitors return. The second is the impact of ongoing restrictions on travel, while the third is a labour shortage brought on by the pandemic.

In 2020, as the country locked down and the border shut to international travellers, the tourism sector was forced to lay off 43 per cent of its workforce — about 900,000 jobs, according to Destination Canada, the former Canadian Tourism Commission.

Some of those jobs have since returned but over the first ten months of the year, the industry’s workforce remained 360,000 shy of the number it employed before the pandemic. 

“We had to lay off many of the workers that we did have and many of them will not come back,” Susie Grynol, president and CEO of the Canadian Hotel Association, told CBC News.

“They won’t come back, not because their heart isn’t in hospitality but because we are still, 19 months later, not in a position to hire back every single worker because now we find ourselves in the off-season.”

‘They have told us they will not come back’

Industry insiders say that the labour shortage is not being driven solely by slack short-term demand that will correct itself once borders reopen — that it represents a permanent move away from the sector by key workers.

“Our industry has suffered some reputational damage because people see us as unstable because we have been subject to so many restrictions,” said Beth Potter, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. 

“We have actually lost employees. They have told us they will not come back to the industry because they don’t see our industry as a stable place to continue their career.”

Potter said the losses include both front-line staff and other positions, such as cleaners, dishwashers, lawyers and accountants.

Empty streets in Banff after Parks Canada restricted vehicles during a COVID-19 infection surge in the province. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Grynol and Potter said that phenomenon was experienced by Canadian domestic tourists this summer who reported hotels setting caps on occupancy because of staff shortages, and restaurants cancelling lunch service during the height of the season.

“If we are successful at preserving this sector and keeping it alive … then we do get an open travel climate and what we think will happen after that is revenge travel — a tourism renaissance,” said Grynol.  

“We will have so much demand for Canada that our single biggest challenge will be labour and making sure we can service all of this demand.”

To ensure Canada is ready, the industry wants the federal government to make adjustments to the temporary foreign worker program and immigration streams to fill the demand for key workers in the sector. 

Using students, immigration to fill gaps

They also want to see the revival of programs targeting recent graduates or international students who take seasonal jobs in the tourism sector to fund global travel.

Boissonnault said he’s open to the idea and has already made moves on the immigration front to ensure his sector has the workers it needs. 

“Within the first week of being minister, maybe day three, I was already talking with [Immigration Minister Sean Fraser] and [Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan] about this,” Boissonnault told CBC.  

“It’s an active conversation in our government and we’re going to be leaning in hard on this issue in 2022 with stakeholders to really address this question for the long term.”

The Cypress Mountain resort in West Vancouver is deserted in 2020 after ski resorts in the province were shuttered in an effort to contain the transmission of COVID-19. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Stakeholders say they have to fix the reputational damage done to the industry by the pandemic in order to attract new workers. 

“We need to get out there and encourage Canadians that this is a great industry to work in,” Potter said. “We’re going to need to start influencing not only parents and teachers but students, starting even as young as middle school, that there are some great opportunities in our industry.”

Boissonnault said he wants to encourage young people to see jobs in tourism as “great careers that you can have for your whole life.”

Rebuilding that workforce requires some predictability — and simplification of travel restrictions would help, industry insiders say. 

“We want to make the movement of people across the country, in and out of the country, as seamless as possible [by] really making sure that we have one system across Canada and we don’t have 13 or 14 different systems,” Potter said. 

Boissonnault said that while he’d also like to see more predictability, provinces can be expected to take different and “totally legitimate” approaches to travel restrictions.

“We need to show that travel, when you do it properly, is safe. That has to be our message. We also have to keep people safe that are travelling and make sure that we’re taking the right measures — first safety, then travel,” he said.

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Canada's energy patch sees 'significant' boost in investment – BNN



Investment in Canada’s oil and natural gas industry will rise 22 per cent this year to $32.8 billion (US$26.3 billion) amid higher prices for hydrocarbons, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The $6 billion gain in investment marks the second straight year of “significant” increases, the oil and gas industry association said Thursday in a report. Spending on Canadian energy is rising as U.S. oil prices surge to their highest in seven years. West Texas Intermediate futures are trading at more than US$85 a barrel and natural gas up about 60 per cent in the last year amid an energy demand recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Investment in Canadian oil sands, the world’s third largest oil reserves, will jump by a third to $11.6 billion while investment in conventional oil and gas will climb 17 per cent to $21.2 billion from last year.

Still, CAPP warned that Canada is losing out to other energy-producing regions. Canada was viewed as a “top tier” jurisdiction for international investment in 2014, when it attracted $81 billion or more than 10 per cent of global upstream gas and oil investment. Forecasts suggest Canada’s market share has fallen to 6 per cent — a drop that represents more than US$21 billion in potential investment. 

This year’s investment growth will leave the industry about where it was in 2018, before the pandemic slashed demand, Tim McMillan, CAPP’s president and chief executive officer, said by phone.

Many Canadian energy companies, similar to their U.S. peers, are paying down debt and returning cash windfalls from oil price gains to shareholders through stock buybacks and higher dividends as investors seek higher returns over growth. Meanwhile, concern about the impact of higher-than-average carbon emissions from Canada’s oil sands prompted some banks and funds to pull investment from the industry in recent years.

“There has been pressure put on the banking industry and through other mechanisms, which is pushing investment to other jurisdictions,” McMillan said.

Investment in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil industry will rise about 6.7 per cent to $1.6 billion this year, according to CAPP. In comparison, the Gulf of Mexico’s offshore investment is expected to jump 21 per cent to $13.1 billion this year.

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Peloton stock is crashing on reports it's halting production of bikes and treadmills – Yahoo Canada Finance



The bad news flywheel continues to be spinning in warp speed at Peloton (PTON). 

Shares of Peloton crashed 24% to $24.22 on Thursday after a CNBC report that the struggling fitness company would temporarily halt production of its bikes and treadmills due to sluggish consumer demand. Shares fell below the company’s September 2019 IPO price of $29. 

The company will reportedly stop producing its bikes for two months and treadmills for six weeks. 

A Peloton spokeswoman didn’t return Yahoo Finance’s request for comment. 

“Peloton’s inventory build at the end of last quarter made it clear that they were still operating a supply demand mismatch. Unfortunately, unlike the pandemic, this time supply meaningfully outpaced demand,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Simeon Siegel told Yahoo Finance. 

Siegel has been a long-time bear on Peloton with an Underperform rating on its stock. 

Shares are now down 30% in December amid bad headlines from a product placement in the new “Sex and the City” reboot. One of the show’s lead characters, Mr. Big, suffers a heart attack after a Peloton bike ride at the end of its premiere episode. 

Earlier, Peloton’s stock crashed more than 30% on Nov. 5 after the company said that connected fitness subscribers of 2.49 million was roughly in-line with analyst estimates. The number of workouts on the platform trended lower for the second consecutive quarter. Sales fell well short of analyst estimates, and the company posted a wider loss than expected.

Peloton also slashed its full-fiscal year outlook.

The company sees full-year sales of $4.4 billion to $4.8 billion, down sharply from $5.4 billion previously. Peloton expected a full-year adjusted operating loss of $425 million to $475 million. The company had expected an operating loss of $325 million.

Shares are down 83% in the past year.

More bad news could be right around the corner: Peloton’s earnings release on Feb. 8. 

“We expect that guidance, if given, will be kitchen-sinked at this point and await more color on these various news items on the call,” Macquarie analyst Paul Golding said. Golding rates Peloton at outperform with an $85 price target, which assumes 254% upside from current price levels.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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Normal price corrections in gold, silver, but bulls remain strong – Kitco NEWS



Welcome to Kitco News’ 2022 outlook series. The new year will be filled with uncertainty as the Federal Reserve looks to pivot and tighten its monetary policies. At the same time, the inflation threat continues to grow, which means real rates will remain in low to negative territory. Stay tuned to Kitco News to learn from the experts on how to navigate turbulent financial markets in 2022.

(Kitco News) – Gold and silver futures prices are trading weaker in early U.S. action Friday, on routine downside corrections after recent good gains that pushed prices to two-month highs this week. The bulls remain in firm near-term technical control. February gold futures were last down $4.70 at $1,837.90 and March Comex silver was last down $0.226 at $24.485 an ounce.

Global stock markets were mostly lower overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward weaker openings when the New York day session begins. Risk appetite has receded this week and that’s been bullish for the safe-haven metals. Inflation fears that are growing have put pressure on paper assets recently—namely stocks and bonds. Technical damage has been inflicted in the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq stock indexes that suggests those markets have put in at least near-term tops. Geopolitics are also in play early this year as the U.S. and Russia are in a stare-down over Russia’s aggression ambitions against Ukraine.

Crypto currencies are also feeling the heat this week, with Bitcoin hitting its lowest level since August.

The key outside markets today see crude oil prices down and trading around $84.00 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index is a bit weaker early today. The U.S. Treasury 10-year note yield is presently fetching 1.792%.

U.S. economic data due for release Friday is light and includes leading economic indicators.

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Technically, the February gold futures bulls have the firm overall near-term technical advantage amid a five-week-old price uptrend in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price objective is to produce a close in February futures above solid resistance at the November high of $1,881.90. Bears’ next near-term downside price objective is pushing futures prices below solid technical support at $1,800.00. First resistance is seen at the overnight high of $1,843.10 and then at this week’s high of $1,848.50. First support is seen at the overnight low of $1,828.40 and then at $1,820.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 7.0

Live 24 hours silver chart [ Kitco Inc. ]

March silver futures bulls have the firm overall near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a five-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. Silver bulls’ next upside price objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the November high of $25.54 an ounce. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $23.00. First resistance is seen at this week’s high of $24.755 and then at $25.00. Next support is seen at Thursday’s low of $24.125 and then at $24.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 6.5.

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