TORONTO: Immigration Jason Kenney claims that Canada issued a record number of almost one million visitor visas in 2012.
“The government is committed to attracting an increasing number of visitors to Canada as part of our plan to grow the Canadian economy and create jobs,’’ Kenney said in Ottawa on Wednesday, unveiling the figures for 2012.
He said Canada’s aim was to issue visas “as quickly as possible to facilitate travel for genuine visitors – to welcome tourists, to reunite families – and benefit from the economic spinoff they bring to Canada.”
The minister claimed that the number of visas issued in 2012 represents an increase of almost 40 percent since 2004.
This steady increase over the last few years reaffirms the fact that Canada continues to be a destination of choice for visitors, he added.
Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, added, “Welcoming more international travelers to Canada creates jobs and growth in our country. Receiving a visa in a timely and efficient manner is important to our visitors, and helps position Canada competitively as a destination of choice in the world.”
He said the Canadian government has employed several new tools to attract visitors to Canada and facilitate their travel. These tools include extending the duration of its multiple-entry visas from five years to 10 years two years ago. As a result, visitors can stay in Canada up to six months at a time over 10 years.
It has also introduced the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa that allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time.