Economic Benefits


In a report released late in 2018 by Destination Canada, “Unlocking the Potential of Canada’s Visitor Economy”, McKinsey & Company introduced the idea of a collaborative system to bring Canada’s tourism industry to the next level.

Through the development of tourism clusters, the authors of the report suggested Canada could double the value of tourism by 2030 and create tens of thousands of new jobs across the country. The report identified the need for joint public, private, and non-profit groups to align their resources toward building up regional tourism clusters and entirely new destinations, including supporting infrastructure like air and road access.

Western Cape Breton Island is in the midst of a transformation. The incomparable Cabot Trail and celebrated destinations like Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs have captured the world’s attention and the potential to develop the region as a premiere tourism destination is within reach. The Cape Breton Island Airport will provide direct commercial access to this burgeoning tourism hub and position Cape Breton as a leader in Canada’s Visitor Economy.

It’s the Right Time

  • Globally, tourism is predicted to grow by 3.3%, fueled by ever-expanding middle-class economies and increased air connectivity.

  • Consumer demand for accessible tourism destinations and clusters is growing. Tourism in Cape Breton grew by 15% in 2016 over 2015, and a further 6% increase in 2017 over 2016, outperforming the rest of Atlantic Canada.

  • Assets like Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs are drawing more and more visitors from outside the region- upon opening, they attracted 44% of their visitation from the US and 25% from Ontario.

The Right Results

Tourism, hospitality, cultural, and related businesses in western Cape Breton will benefit from direct air access. We know that an increase in government tax revenues means more money that can be invested into the programs and services we need, including health care, education, and improving our roads.

In the first five years, it is projected that the Airport will generate:

  • $42.7 million in direct and spinoff GDP

  • 626.3 direct and spinoff jobs (FTEs) sustained

  • $26.7 million generated in direct and spinoff household income

  • $6.4 million in government tax revenues

It will position Cape Breton as a leader in destination development and marketing by fulfilling Destination Canada’s vision of tourism “clusters”.