About Tourism

Tourism encompasses two areas: outbound tourism and inbound tourism.

Outbound tourism is what you may be most familiar with. It involves the business generated by people going from where you live to other provinces, territories or countries. Going to Hawaii in February is an example of outbound tourism.

Canada competes in a global market to attract tourists from the United States, China, Germany, and a host of other countries. We ask them to come and visit Canada—that is inbound tourism. The tourists that come to your area from other provinces and territories are considered inbound tourists as well. When spending by both tourists and residents is measured, projections show spending within the tourism sector could reach $287 billion by 2035.

There are five industries in tourism:


Employers in this group include hotels, motels, resorts, campgrounds, and recreational vehicle facilities. They range in size from bed and breakfast operations with one or two bedrooms to multi-national hotel chains with hundreds of rooms. Flexibility is a key reason so many people consider a career in this area—the opportunity to move to different regions and establishments, even different countries, is very attractive, as is the potential for good career growth, especially for those with appropriate training, skills and experience.

Food and Beverage Services

This is the largest employment group, and a major employer of youth, serving as a training ground for people who are beginning their careers. Food and beverage outlets can include restaurants from fast service to fine dining, as well as pubs, nightclubs, cruise ships, and convention centres. Some chains have found a niche in bookstores, department stores and casinos. As the sophistication of operations grows, many restaurants have diversified, coming out with their own retail product lines, while many specialty cafés now market their products to airlines and offices. F&B operations can range in size from small private restaurants preparing individual meals up to large corporate facilities that prepare banquets for hundreds of people.

Recreation and Entertainment

This is the second largest group and is very diverse. Employers can be zoos, museums, theatres, sports facilities, amusement parks, government parks, heritage sites, hunting, fishing or outdoor adventure outfitters, and casinos. Recreation and entertainment can also overlap with other sectors of tourism: workers may be employed by hotels, resorts, tour companies, convention centres, or transportation companies. The majority of employers in the Recreation and Entertainment industry group are small businesses.

Travel Services

People working in this group could be employed by retail travel agencies, wholesale tour companies, or corporate offices that have enough business travel to warrant their own booking divisions. Others work for organizations that plan special events such as conferences, major meetings, trade shows and conventions. Agencies might be small family operations with one office or large international networks with offices across the country.


Employers in this group include companies that provide transport by air, land or water, and include airlines, bus companies, taxi companies, ferry services, and cruise ships. In the transportation group, 84% of employers are small businesses, compared to just 4% for large businesses, such as major airlines, rail travel, and car rental companies.

Growing Job Opportunities

There could be as many as 2.29 million tourism jobs across the country by 2035. Current projections show that approximately 240,000 of these jobs will not have people to fill them, leaving ample opportunity to build a rewarding career and quickly gain new skills and responsibilities. Food and beverage services and recreation and entertainment employers will be particularly looking for skilled people to add to their teams, but all industry groups and all regions across Canada will offer professional opportunities.

For more information about employment trends in the tourism sector in Canada, visit the Tourism HR Canada Labour Market Information research section.

Scroll to Top