Thank you very much.
Simply put, tourism matters. It matters to our economy through the $102-billion contribution it made last year. It also matters to the 1.8 million people who work in this industry from coast to coast to coast. It's in every single one of your ridings, providing good jobs for Canadians, stimulating development and regional economic benefits, building national pride, and surpassing many sectors of the economy.
Canada's travel economy includes millions of travellers who visit each year for business, meetings, study and leisure. The meetings and conventions sector alone represents $33 billion in economic activity. Travel fosters trade. There's a direct correlation between rises in international travel and subsequent increases in export volumes. According to McKinsey research, each 1% increase in Canadian arrivals can generate upwards of $800 million in Canadian exports. A recent Nanos poll conducted for TIAC found that a majority of Canadians, 77%, believe creating a positive experience for international visitors has a positive impact on how proud they are to be Canadian.
Tourism is one of the few sectors that has seen consistent growth, and it is projected to keep growing worldwide. Considering that more than 1.3 billion visitors travelled the world in 2018 and surpassed global GDP growth for eight consecutive years, tourism continues to be a bright light in uncertain times when other sectors are experiencing challenges and decline. The World Travel and Tourism Council projects that by 2029, one in four new jobs globally will be in tourism, and 1.8 billion travellers will cross international borders.
Here in Canada, we've just recently started to see year-over-year growth after a long decade of decline due to a variety of factors. We're just starting to get back on the upside, but we're still lagging behind other countries. International travel is on the rise. Last year's record-breaking 21.1 million travellers represents only 1.4% growth. Despite all efforts, Canada remains 17th worldwide compared with other countries. Without proactive policies and investments that support growth, we'll continue to fall behind globally. As you well know, we're now entering another period of uncertainty with the coronavirus.
My question to you is this: Where do we want to be in five years? Do we want Canada to continue to lag behind global markets or be a leader? Access barriers remain a significant irritant for international travellers. We're competing with the world and we're not investing enough. We need a visitor visa system that works. You'll be hearing more on that from our sector.
More importantly, there's marketing. Canada's capital investment in tourism falls well below that of Australia, the U.S., the United Kingdom and New Zealand, just as examples. As the Government of Canada continues to focus on creating a competitive Canadian export market, let's remember that tourism is Canada's largest service export. But here too we fall below competitors. Canada could easily improve its competitiveness by raising Destination Canada's base funding to $135 million per year. That would put us on equivalent footing with Australia, for example.
Last year the Minister of Tourism unveiled an ambitious tourism strategy to take Canada to the next level by 2025, seeking to add 54,000 new jobs, increasing tourism revenues to $128 billion, and increasing international tourist arrivals in the winter and shoulder seasons by over one million people. Investments in the new Canadian experiences fund are much needed, but we need more investment to ensure that we meet those targets. That's why we're asking for $500 million over four years.
Honourable committee members, you have the opportunity to enhance the economic performance of one of Canada's major growth sectors.
In our brief, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada has made a number of recommendations on ways to strengthen Canada's competitiveness on the international stage.
Thank you for the time you have granted me. I will be pleased to answer your questions.