Progress Report on Implementation of the Recommendations of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks

"We will work with those who market and use national parks to ensure an understanding of the ecological integrity mandate so that we attract park visitors to the right place, at the right time, in the right numbers and with the right expectations." (Action Plan)

Progress to Date

  • Parks Canada is working with those who market and use national parks to ensure an understanding of the ecological integrity mandate and to influence/involve them in attracting visitors with the right expectations, to the right places, at the right times. This is being done in a number of ways, including:

Collaboration with Tourism Industry at the National and International Level

  • As a member of the Executive Committees of the Canadian Tourism Commission, the National Tour Association, Aboriginal Tourism Team Canada and Rendezvous Canada, Parks Canada is able to influence the strategic directions for marketing, the messages of these organizations and what they promote.
  • On January 4, 2001, Parks Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) signed an accord outlining principles to guide collaborative actions between the two organizations. Both organizations see this as opening a new era – an era of working together to foster sustainable tourism.
  • Parks Canada is contributing to TIAC's Best Practices/"Smart Tourism" project which aims to produce guidance for tourism businesses planning, developing and operating in or near national parks.
  • Parks Canada is arranging a series of educational presentations as a part of Canadian and international tourism industry association meetings and has been invited to make presentations to the annual meetings of the National Tour Association, Rendezvous Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
  • Parks Canada is leading the development of a national strategy for heritage-based "learning travel" in collaboration with the Canadian Tourism Commission and industry representatives.

Communicating the Right Messages

  • Parks Canada has developed a National Messages Framework to guide all of its own communications with visitors and Canadians. This framework, which will be shared with tourism operators, emphasizes the ecological integrity mandate and the contribution to Canadian identity and pride.
  • Parks Canada is striving to ensure that all tour operator materials (e.g. fee schedules, travel trade manuals) contain appropriate ecological integrity messages.
  • In cooperation with the National Tour Association, Parks Canada is producing Guides' Guides for tour operators to influence their perceptions and understanding of national parks, the messages and presentations they provide to their passengers, and the places and times they visit.

Examples of Actions at the Local Level

  • Fundy is working with tourism associations and the provincial government to influence how it presents the park in the marketplace.
  • The Kootenay/Yoho/Lake Louise Field Unit is supporting the development of heritage tourism strategies for Golden and Radium Hot Springs.
  • Gwaii Haanas has an initiative to ensure that its marketing strategy is consistent with Panel recommendations and further discussions will occur with commercial tour operators in the area.
  • Cape Breton Highlands is participating with other tourism marketing organizations on the Island with the intention of ensuring that marketing done by Island agencies reflects the objectives of Parks Canada, including those related to ecological integrity.

Next Steps

  • Renewal of Parks Canada's strategic direction for External Relations to focus on informing, influencing and involving Canadians in the conservation and the sensitive appreciation and enjoyment of national parks. This will be accomplished through the gathering and application of social science research.
  • Continued collaboration in specific parks with the tourism sector to manage human use.

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