Despite Australia and the US wooing Canadians with expensive campaigns, the global tourism market has huge untapped economic growth potential for us, too.
Watch out Canadians.
America and Australia are coming for you. Others may too. When you least expect it they’ll show up in your home, at your office, online. They’ll tempt you with smart tweets and pretty Facebook pages, perhaps layering in the voice of an iconic singer, and an alluring contest. I’m sorry to say many of you may be absorbed in the process.
With the onset of new tourism campaigns from Brand USA and Tourism Australia, Canadians are being wooed with big money and great campaigns. Who can blame our competitors for this strategy when we’re doing the same thing elsewhere?
These new ads descending into our space may be shaking us up a bit, and this isn’t all bad if it means more of our industry sees that future growth and investment requires a competitive international strategy. If you sell it, they will come; and if you don’t, they sure as heck might go elsewhere when it’s easier to get to, cheaper, perhaps more familiar, or perhaps more exotic.
What was once the “bread and butter” of business—the domestic traveller—is no sure thing anymore. Canadians are spending 36% more on travel beyond our borders than they were in 2009 largely thanks to a growing middle class and strong dollar. Canada scored a travel deficit of $16.3 billion in 2011. Ouch.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that Canada ranks sixth among the world’s top tourism spenders, just behind Germany, the United States, China, the United Kingdom and France. Our global competitors are well aware of this spending power and that’s why they’re coming for us.
Last year, visitors from away spent $16 billion here, but there is so much untapped potential globally that we national tourism marketers see huge economic benefits, job creation, future investment and prosperity, in going after it.
A billion people will be on the move this year. By 2020, the China National Tourism Administration says there will be 100 million Chinese tourists annually.
Right now, tourism ranks fourth globally as an export category behind fuels, chemicals and automotive products. One has to wonder where it will rank in 2020.
We can do a lot more body-snatching ourselves as long as we continue to leverage marketing dollars in lucrative markets, promoting our brand through outstanding international programs. Canada has a lot to gain.
Where do you think opportunity lies for Canadian tourism? What markets look best to you? Do tell all; tweet your views to me @CTCCEO or leave a note in the comments below.