Manitoba NDP pledge to boost tourism industry, upgrade parks
'We'd like to know what they're going to cut to pay for it,' Manitoba Liberal leader says
The Manitoba NDP say they'll give Manitoba parks a facelift and invest in the tourism industry if elected this spring.
"It's called the 96/4 plan," NDP Leader Greg Selinger said Saturday at Assiniboine Park.
By taking four per cent of the total revenue from tourism in the province and putting it back in the industry, Selinger said the Manitoba government could help the tourism industry grow by 96 per cent.
The plan is based on the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce's funding model, according to the NDP.
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"For $4 million of investment from us, [the chamber] believes we could grow tourism in Manitoba by $96 million," Selinger said, adding that the commitment would turn Manitoba tourism into a $2-billion industry by 2020.
The New Democrats also promise to spend an extra $20 million on improving parks in the province. That aspect of the plan would include expanding Wi-Fi access in parks, adding an additional 100 camp sites across Manitoba and developing more comprehensive hiking and canoe maps with First Nations on the Bloodvein River and Mantario Trail.
Selinger touted the 2014 opening of the Journey to Churchill exhibit at Assiniboine Park as an example of what the government has done to attract more people to the province under his watch. He added that tourism boomed in 2015 thanks in part to the 103rd Grey Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup, which were hosted in Winnipeg.
"We have tremendous tourism assets all around us," Selinger said, listing off a series of popular Manitoba festivals and museums.
The Progressive Conservatives came out with a tourism announcement of their own last weekend, promising to grow the industry in northern Manitoba.
The PCs responded to the NDP pledge on Saturday, claiming they have had 17 years to promote tourism "and they haven't done it."
Manitoba Liberal Party Rana Bokhari also criticized the NDP's plan.
"We'd like to know what they're going to cut to pay for it," Bokhari said in a statement.
Manitobans head to the polls April 19.