Canada, unlike most
other countries in the world, has seen a decline in foreign arrivals
over the past 11 years. The three reports below combine to give an
overview but it is clear that poor marketing is at the root of the
Commission - Imagine The Possibilities
questions cuts to Canadian Tourism
I have personally
talked to each Provinces tourism department and other group
organisations as well as the Canadian Tourism Commission. I can
confirm they all lack vision and entrepreneurial spirit. The facts
speak for themselves in the two reports below yet each Province I
contacted and the other groups all told me personally that they were
seeing good growth in tourism arrivals from overseas. In short
they are not telling the truth and if they are in such self denial it is no wonder
we are not performing well in an industry that could be making
billions more for Canada. Heads should roll!!!
The power of tourism
I will say the marketing budgets have
been cut by the Federal government but that just means you need to
be smarter on how you use what money you have and I see no evidence
of that at all. Right now Canada is reporting a $16 billion travel
deficit with the rest of the world. That is a significant
amount of our GDP.
Clearly Canada's tourism web sites are
not delivering. They may indeed be slowing the decline but in no way
are they reversing it.
Canada in particular has a problem as
they are obviously not on the radar of most people when they decide
where to take their holiday. I now have 3 years worth of stats on
the Electric Canadian site and some 78% of visitors to this site
come from Canada, 17% from the USA and only 3% are from the UK
leaving only 2% from the rest of the world. I think that says
it all really. Canada's most important countries for tourism
are USA by a large margin and then UK, Germany, France and
In comparison Electric Scotland currently gets 48% of its
visitors from the USA, 22% from the UK, 8% from Canada and 5% from
17% from the rest of the world.
I should mention that Electric
Scotland received 1.65 million unique visitors in 2013 so it's a
decent base for these statistics. The Canadian web site received
some 24,000 unique visitors in 2013 so clearly tiny in comparison
but that might also say something about the number of people
researching Canada online.
Scotland has a population of around
5.4 million whereas Canada has a population of some 35 million.
Now given that there is reckoned to be
45 million Scots at home and abroad with the largest numbers in the
USA by far but then the UK and Canada on roughly equal numbers and
Australia coming next these figures makes more sense albeit Canada
is lower than one would have thought. That is why Canada would seem
to have a serious problem in marketing the country as a tourism
Tourism is a huge employer in Canada
but there is also a tie up with tourism also leading to exports.
So failure to attract more tourists from outside Canada means we are
not exporting as much as we could.
While the figure above are Scottish
oriented that's just because that's my main business which is
exploring the history of Scotland and the Scots both at home and
abroad. However I think due to us having a broad reach they
probably also reflect other ethnic groups as well.
I decided to make a YouTube video to
try and explain all this which you can watch below...
My take on what is wrong with the
Canadian Tourism Industry
So having watched the video read the
three reports below and decide
I will finish by saying that Canada
does have problems in that the American dollar and Canadian dollar
are at nearly par and thus it is now more expensive for Americans to
travel to Canada and added to that tighter border controls means
they need passports to come to Canada whereas they didn't before.
Added to this Canada has restricted
air access through mainly Air Canada and the Canadian airports are
expensive. The far more open skies policy of the USA thus offers
much more competitive rates.
However we all have
challenges and it's the industries job to find and test possible
solutions and that means listening to any and all suggestions and at
least giving them a fair hearing and possibly a trial.
Canada ranked No. 1 country brand in
the world in 2010 and 2011, according to Future Brand, a leading
international brand and design consultancy. Despite that we aren't
converting that to actual visits.
Web marketing is
obviously important but for example I visited the web site of a new
links golf course in Cape Breton and a more unwelcoming site you'd
be hard to find. It looks cold, the course looks cold, the
rooms look cold and it's empty. Where are the smiling people
enjoying the course and a meal and drink? Nowhere to be seen.
Part 2 of my research on the
Canadian Tourism Industry
I have done further research and I
find that the actual travel trade, travel agents, flight tour
operators, etc. are equally to blame. I'll site one example and that's
Air Transat. They are pushing cheap flights and now also tour
packages to the public. To me the core problem is that companies
like this generally work on their own web sites and focus entirely
on their own sites and content. This is a huge mistake in my view
and I'll give you an example of this...
On the Air Transat site they promote their own subsidiary "Canadian
Affair" and when you click to go to that web site you'll see they
are promoting a whole variety of trips and tours to Canada. Now in
there you can book a 9 day tour which includes 2 days on the Rocky
Mountaineer train which they quote as being a great scenic trip. Now
all that sounds fine but in my view if they worked with third
parties they could make that trip even more compelling.
Consider the old sales adage... Attention, Interest, Desire and
Close then their sales pitch might have got you through Attention
and Interest but at this point they have failed to build Desire for
For example they could have provided a link to my pages on British
where folk could read lots of information about BC but also a
specific page providing videos of BC at
and the very first video on that page is about the Rocky
Mountaineer. It's a 30 minute video and having watched it you're
going to want to book that holiday then and there. I mean I
challenge you to watch that video and then tell me it's of no
So by not using third party web sites they are actually underselling
Canada. This is where the Canadian Tourism Commission should be
working with them and other web properties to do a far better job.
But as usual the CTC doesn't like to talk to anyone other than their
own industry and that in my view is their major failing. When the
CTC looks at the web they see it as advertising and not a
partnership as they should do. For example if they were working with
me then yes they could certainly spend some advertising with me but
they could also help me build compelling content to help them
convert people with an interest in Canada into someone who has the
desire to make that trip.
So anyone that is interested in outdoor pursuits can find in the
summer, miles of atv trails, canoeing, fishing, golf, walking, and even
beaches to relax on. In winter you have again miles of skiing
trails, snow mobiles, ice fishing, etc. And like other pages on the
site I have lots of videos.
And so in this specific case the CTC and Ontario tourism could make
use of my work if they'd make the effort to get involved with me and
my web site.
Likewise I spent 2 weeks in Cape Breton and documented my trip there
and that page gives a great introduction to the island along with
videos but also leads to my own personal 2 week journal where I have
tons of pictures. So again the CTC is missing out as is Nova Scotia
And so I believe the CTC and other tourism groups do a decent job of
attracting attention and building some interest but have failed for
the most part to build in enough people a desire to actually make the trip
by closing the sale and booking their holiday.
As a general note this is what is meant by true innovation and in
turn this is the problem with CTC and the travel trade in general in
that they are not innovators and have thus totally missed the
fantastic opportunity that the non travel trade can make to their
The Honourable Maxime Bernier,
Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) (Agriculture), today
announced the appointment of David Goldstein as President and Chief
Executive Officer of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC),
effective December 1, 2014.
Mr. Goldstein is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer
of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), which is the
only national trade association representing large and small travel
and tourism enterprises. In this capacity, Mr. Goldstein was one of
the key architects of the Federal Tourism Strategy with Industry
The CTC is Canada's national tourism marketing organization. A
federal Crown corporation of the Government of Canada, it leads the
Canadian tourism industry in marketing Canada as a premier
four-season tourism destination. Its vision is to inspire the world
to explore Canada. With its partners in the tourism industry, the
Government of Canada and the provinces and territories, the CTC
promotes Canada's extraordinary experiences in 11 countries around
the world. It conducts market research, offers stunning visuals
through the Brand Canada Library and provides resources and toolkits
to help industry leverage Canada's successful tourism brand-Canada.
And please feel free to provide
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