Canada’s minister of economic development and official languages, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, announced Marsha Walden (pictured) as new president and chief executive officer of the country’s destination promotion board internationally, Destination Canada. “We know the tremendous contribution of the tourism sector to our communities, large and small. It supports good jobs in rural areas, small towns, Indigenous communities and big cities from coast to coast to coast. I look forward to working with Marsha Walden, whose excellent track record in this sector will be a tremendous asset that will help steer Destination Canada throughout the recovery of our country’s visitor economy,” the minister said.
“Marsha is a well-respected and trusted member of the ‘Team Canada’ tourism community. Her experience and impressive record of success will be an asset to Destination Canada, and the sector as a whole, as we build a more resilient visitor economy,” said Ben Cowan-Dewar, Destination Canada’s chair of the board of the directors.
Walden joins Destination Canada from Destination British Columbia where she served as the president and CEO since 2013. There she successfully led the newly formed provincial Crown corporation to create ground-breaking strategies for tourism development and nationally recognised, data-driven performance marketing.
“Tourism goes well beyond the one in 10 jobs it creates nationwide; tourism intersects economic, social, environment and community development,” said Walden. “This is a critical time for the sector and I am thrilled to be joining Destination Canada as we work to support a resilient visitor economy.”
Destination Canada’s board of directors also thanked David Robinson, who led the organisation as interim president and CEO for the past six months.
Walden’s first day with Destination Canada will be 24 August, 2020.
In 2019, a record 22.1m visitors travelled to Canada and tourism expenditures reached an estimated CAD$105.1bn (US$79.86) last year.
On 31 May, 2020, Destination Canada announced a new partnership with the provinces and territories to deliver locally led marketing programs encouraging Canadians to discover their own backyard. Over the next 18 months, Destination Canada has promised to invest $30m with provincial and territorial marketing organisations to support the recovery of communities.