Ottawa business community ready to invest in 2017 success

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Ottawa –A $2.5-million investment from the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association attests to the successful approach the City of Ottawa and its partners have taken towards developing an exciting year of celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation in 2017.

Mayor Jim Watson took part today in a panel discussion at the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Annual Chair’s Luncheon on the City’s plans for Ottawa 2017. Entitled Beyond 2017: Creating a Legacy of Prosperity, the discussion showcased the expected long-term economic benefits our 2017 program will bring to the region.

“Tourism is Ottawa’s third most important sector, after the public service and high tech. Our aim in 2017 is to generate a 20-per-cent boost in tourism, which presents a tremendous opportunity for local businesses to grow and hire,” said Mayor Watson. “The energy, excitement and investments generated by Ottawa’s 2017 celebrations will serve as a catalyst for long-term tourism growth.”

The announcement of the $2.5-million pledge came from Kristine Dempster, Chair of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association. “This investment shows our confidence in the Ottawa 2017 strategy and our belief that it will be very beneficial to businesses, to our employees and to all of the residents of this great city,” she said. “We are anticipating a year of unprecedented success and are proud to be the first private-sector investor to support this great cause.”

“Ottawa 2017 will stimulate even more creativity and innovation and firmly establish our city as the best place in Canada to live, work and invest, and I want to thank the OGHA for playing a key role in fostering this,” added Mayor Watson.

Following presentations by Councillors Jean Cloutier and Mathieu Fleury, the Ottawa 2017 Task Force co-chairs, and Guy Laflamme, the head of Ottawa 2017 celebrations, on the approach to 2017 programming and the anticipated economic benefits, Mayor Watson joined a panel discussion moderated by Mark Sutcliffe, Chair of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. Panellists included Ms. Dempster, Noel Buckley, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, and Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority.

During the panel discussion, Mr. Buckley announced the establishment of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, a not-for-profit organization to be led by both the private sector and government representatives. This new entity will direct the development of 2017 programming, which will feature blockbuster events, community programming and legacy projects.

“Establishing this independent organization will enable us to harness the talent and innovation of proven private-sector leaders and access resources that wouldn’t normally be available to municipalities,” Mr. Buckley said. “This approach has been used for PEI 2014, Quebec 400, Montreal 375 and successful major commemorations around the globe. Ottawa Tourism is proud to have led the way on this initiative and will continue to put our full support behind Mayor Watson and Ottawa 2017 as we prepare for the celebration of a generation.”

Ian Faris, President and CEO of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, noted the excitement and the enthusiastic support of the Ottawa business community. “For many, this has been our first look at what 2017 will offer,” he said. “Entrepreneurs and established businesses will all find new opportunities in our expanded economy and will individually benefit from the comprehensive lineup of events and programs. The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce is pleased to have organized this event and we all look forward to more exciting announcements in the months ahead.”

The City views 2017 as not only a celebration of 150 years as the nation’s capital but also an economic development opportunity to diversify and expand the tourism industry, highlight Ottawa’s landmarks and potential for development and capitalize on the momentum and exposure created during the year.