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Destination Canada reveals marketing success

Destination Canada reveals marketing success

Canadian tourism officials are predicting some 20.8 million international arrivals this calendar year, up significantly from roughly 16 million visitors just 5 years ago, when there was a dip in inbound tourism.

But, warns John Mamela, chief marketing officer for Destination Canada, the annual growth in visitors is about on par with global averages, so foreign competition for tourists continues to pose a challenge for Canadian industry.

He was speaking Wednesday to a mix of public and private sector industry leaders at the annual fall congress organized by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, held at the Hilton Lac-Leamy hotel in Gatineau, Quebec.

He noted that future efforts will have to be driven by improved research into target markets, creatively brilliant promotional tools designed for curation by social media and influencers, and awareness of what works best for each media platform.

Mamela also reviewed several Destination Canada initiatives that have been particularly successful in key foreign markets in 2017.

In one aimed at Korea, for example, several industry partners supported on-location shooting in Quebec City for Korea’s most popular TV drama series of all time. He said Koreans are especially fond of visiting film locations and the series, with 245 million domestic TV views and another 3.2 billion in China, resulted in a “fantastic outcome.” That included a 38 per cent increase in air travel to Toronto and a five-fold increase in nightly bookings from Korea at the Quebec City hotel involved in the project, Fairmont Chateau Frontenac.

Domestic tourism was not ignored, with a program targeting Canadian millennials, who traditionally take 80 percent of their trips outside their country. The advertising program featured young people enjoying adventure and culinary travel, and the number of within-country trips by the target audience increased in 2017 by16 percent.

Mamela said future efforts will promote Canada as a four-season destination. At present, half of all visits are sandwiched between June and September. “We have to make sure we don’t find ourselves like Venice or Iceland,” he said.

Destination Canada is a corporation of the Canadian government designed to market the country as a tourism destination to key markets internationally.

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