Message from the President – August 2023
This summer has been a challenging one on several economic fronts.
Strikes at B.C. ports hurt our importers and exporters, caused supply chain chokepoints, and backed up
freight networks for weeks.
Intense wildfires have displaced entire communities and forced emergency responders to restrict access
to huge swaths of the west and north.
Many farmers and agri-food producers are concerned about draught conditions, while others worry that
they’ve received too much rain.
A rare bright spot: tourism’s post-pandemic recovery continues.
Last fall, Destination Canada predicted that leisure travel would be back to pre-COVID levels by 2024 – a
full year earlier than previously thought – and tourism spending this year would beat 2019’s receipts.
If a recent Tuesday evening in Montréal’s Old Port is any indication, those predictions appear to be
Empirically, too, fresh data from VIA shows a strong rebound in passenger volumes for inter-city rail
travel. (Read more about that below.)
Of course, Canada has so much to offer visitors and domestic travellers alike. Whether it’s the marvels
of our mountain regions, the dynamism of our cities, a commune with nature, or an oceanside seafood
feast, rail connects people and communities from coast to coast with some unparalleled experiences.
This month, we celebrate tourism rail in Canada.
Whether it’s a transborder trip from Alaska to the Yukon, a viral-video inspired by the splendor of the
Rockies, or some fabulously fun events and memory-making journeys facilitated by tourism and
passenger railways, RAC members are undeniably a backbone of Canada’s tourist economy.
That’s a point we have made directly to Canada’s new federal tourism minister (and that plays out in our
data corner below).
Tourism by rail is a vibrant part of Canada’s rail offerings. Whether it’s new hydrogen trains through the
Charlevoix or the return of Amtrak’s Adirondack service, railways help Canada put its best foot forward
to people exploring our country and all that it has to offer.
’ll close by saluting the railway fire abatement and suppression crews that have worked to keep trains
running in a safe and controlled manner, the engineering teams who repair tracks and other
infrastructure, and all first responders assisting communities affected by this summer’s wildfires and
other weather events.
This summer has been a tough one for you particularly. And we are all grateful for your service.
Yours in safety,