Thank you, Stephen.
A core element of Parks Canada’s mandate is to present and share Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas with visitors from across Canada and around the world. In fulfilling this mandate, Parks Canada not only facilitates the enjoyment of our country’s national heritage places but also contributes to communities and to Canada’s growing tourism industry.
Each year, Parks Canada receives 25 million visitors across the 222 sites administered by the agency. Most of these visitors are Canadian, with the remaining 20% coming largely from the United States, Europe and Asia. The scale of Parks Canada's operations makes the agency one of Canada's largest providers of natural and cultural tourism.
Visitors to Parks Canada places contribute an estimated $4 billion to the Canadian economy through spending in communities that neighbour Parks Canada places and through disbursements to the operators who deliver experiences in Parks Canada places.
While contributing to Canada’s tourism economy is very important for the agency, Parks Canada's focus is on facilitating Canadians' enjoyment of our national heritage places now and into the future. This work is rooted in the legislation for Canada’s system of national parks. It means that the agency works hard to present national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas to Canadians not only when they come to visit but also through digital media and a number of outreach programs in their communities.
In fact, each year Parks Canada delivers an amazing array of experiences to visitors to national heritage places. At the same time, the agency works to bring these places to people where they live by delivering outreach and engagement programming, such as the Learn-to Camp program in urban and rural centres across the country.
Combined, these outreach programs reached 110,000 Canadians in 2019. On our digital channels, Parks Canada reaches still more Canadians. We receive some 18 million unique visitors per year to our website and enjoy a social media following of nearly two million.
Parks Canada places are also important settings for communities to gather. In 2019, Parks Canada hosted more than 20 citizenship ceremonies, and we hosted over 100 local events and celebrations in collaboration with local communities and other partners.
Canada's national heritage sites are places where Canadians can gain a deeper appreciation of our country, including indigenous cultures. Parks Canada works closely with indigenous communities across the country to deliver authentic indigenous experiences in national parks and at historic sites.
These experiences help to foster greater understanding by non-indigenous Canadians of the cultures, history and traditions of our country's indigenous peoples.
Parks Canada is the steward of some of Canada's most treasured places. We are guides, partners and storytellers, and we strive to foster a greater appreciation and understanding of Canada’s national and cultural heritage.
We are committed to sharing the stories of these special places from multiple perspectives, reflecting the diversity of Canada and also respecting the cultures and perspectives of Canada’s indigenous peoples.
Madam Chair, we would be pleased to address any questions or comments the committee has.