From provincial marketing organizations and Bollywood stars to farm-to-table Canadian food, we always look for the right colleagues to drive revenue further.
The launch of Virgin Atlantic’s new route from London Heathrow to Vancouver last month reminded me once again of the value and variety of our partnerships. The Canadian Tourism Commission, together with Tourism Vancouver, Tourism Whistler and the Government of BC, partnered with Virgin Atlantic on a marketing campaign to realize the benefits of this new route.
Our involvement has enabled 200 Virgin Holidays’ travel agents to become advocates for Canada through our award-winning Canada Specialist Program. Our broadcast assets will run in Virgin Holiday retail stores across the UK and 30 members of the UK travel media took a three-day familiarization (FAM) trip.
It‘s expected the new service will see up to 40,000 customers jetting between London and Vancouver this summer with travellers expected to generate $21.5 million in tourism expenditures in the Vancouver market alone, in addition to creating additional industry jobs. Like all partnerships with airlines—domestic or foreign—our mutually beneficial goal is more people in seats and more heads in beds.
Of course, this sort of partnership isn’t new. CTC was founded on the principle of public/private sector partnerships and matching funding as a way of achieving the maximum return on investment for our tourism marketing initiatives. In 2011, those partnership contributions totalled $73 million which exceeded our target and demonstrated the relevance of this successful approach.
With our focus on innovation, we are constantly exploring new types of partnerships that help bring tourism experiences to the international marketplace in addition to these four traditional arrangements. How? Here are some examples:
Last fall we were able to include Edible Canada, a small-business Signature Experience Collection (SEC) member, with a provincial and a destination marketing organization in a partnership with American Express Publishing. Along with our partners Tourism Prince Edward Island and Niagara-on-the-Lake Tourism, we hawked our culinary wares in New York, promoting Canadian foodie experiences at the Global Bazaar—the 40th anniversary celebration of AMEX magazine Travel + Leisure, which publicizes the world’s most inspiring places to visit.
On top of that, three culinary, outdoor and culture influencers were invited to Canada to share their experiences on Explore Canada Like a Local, CTC’s new website built on user-generated content and ideal for trip planning. A range of advertising appeared on American Express digital properties and through a series of sponsored tweets about Canada’s winter activities, food, film festivals and more.
In a unique partnership with CTC since 2009, Bollywood megastar Akshay Kumar leverages his celebrity status in India to promote Canada in his role as CTC’s Ambassador for India. “King” Kumar carried the Olympic torch for Canada in Toronto during the 2010 Olympic Relay, ensuring that Indian airwaves and newspapers carried stories and images of Canada on a daily basis. Having a superstar like Akshay on board continues to boost Canada’s profile in our Indian market.
We partnered with the Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership to promote their bid in the New7Wonders of Nature contest last year. While they did not make the final top seven, the spectacular images of Atlantic Canada's Bay of Fundy caught the world’s attention.
Toronto was in the spotlightlast October in a partnership with Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Tourism Toronto, Ottawa Tourism and the Calgary Stampede. We brought over international media and 20 leading incentive travel clients from the US to LG Fashion Week. Media came from most of CTC’s key international markets helping to increase coverage of Canadian urban travel experiences—our goal. This was a brand-new project for us—integrating marketing opportunities by hosting a mix of international media and top incentive clients—and this initial exposure has laid excellent foundations for future activities.
In a major airline initiative, a partnership of Canada’s tourism marketers, (CTC, Government of BC, Tourism Vancouver and Vancouver Airport Authority) came together with China Southern Airlines to capitalize on a new route between Canada and China’s most populous province, Guangdong, to widen the gate to a lucrative tourism market in China. Here, we wanted to seize every opportunity following Approved Destination Status to promote extraordinary travel experiences to Chinese travellers. Operators like China Southern Airlines open up new markets and deliver the customers.
The results: the new service will bring up to 44,000 Chinese travellers to Canada every year, pulling an additional $72 million into Canada’s economy. Of that, $22 million will be in government revenues, with 600 Canadian jobs created and sustained.
Those are just a few examples of great partnerships—there are hundreds more. But they demonstrate the kind of mutual benefits that occur when we partner together. We’re all working together to create a win-win outcome.
But what are your thoughts about partnerships? Tweet your views to me @CTCCEO, leave a note in the comments below or come and chat in person. I’m on the road seeing industry a lot in the next two months.