CTC president is cautiously optimistic for the year ahead after an eventful 2010.
As 2010 draws to a close, Michele McKenzie, Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) president and CEO, has collected her thoughts on the 12 months just passed and the outlook for 2011 for Canada’s visitor economy. Here is her open letter to the Canadian tourism industry.
Dear industry member,
Well, that was quite a year! The past 12 months have been a time of change in the Canadian tourism industry, not least for us at CTC. But we’re finally seeing signs of an economic recovery taking hold in our sector, making me feel prudently optimistic for the industry’s outlook and prospects in 2011.
The figures coming in from our key markets certainly seem to bear that out. There have been notable gains in inbound travel to Canada, especially from Japan, Brazil and China, with only Mexico still feeling the strain. Our core markets (UK, France, Germany and Australia) have a new lease of life, too, with numbers up across the board. Our Research team has nicely summarized this positive economic news in our latest Tourism Snapshot.
Another highlight of 2010 was the conclusion of our highly successful domestic campaign (LOCALS KNOW), funded by Canada’s Economic Action Plan. This campaign really caught the imaginations of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
I believe that this recovery has its foundations in the strategy we formed with our partners for the 2010 Winter Games. International broadcasters are still eager for the videos, images and great Canadian stories we first showed them in February this year. And this increased media exposure is still playing a pivotal role in Canada’s increased exposure on the global stage.
The China market grabbed the headlines last summer, with the official granting of Approved Destination Status (ADS) for Canada. The first wave of many future tours came to explore these shores just two months later.
But if anyone still needs convincing that Canada’s tourism brand is a force to be reckoned with—and that our message is resonating internationally—then cast your minds back to November. We’re No. 1! Canada completed its rapid rise up FutureBrand’s Country Brand Index to claim the coveted top spot. That ranking is a source of great pride for us at CTC and will really help our work and international partnerships in 2011.
As I mentioned at the beginning, we’ve seen plenty of changes in 2010, both external and internal. We’ve re-evaluated our investment approach to focus on the markets with the highest yields to grow tourism export revenue for Canada. In doing so, we’ve made some changes to our operational footprint and said a fond farewell to some valued team members. However, these changes will help CTC achieve the best possible results for Canada’s industry.
So what’s next? Putting aside my crystal ball, I can confidently say we will be vigorously pursuing appropriately funded opportunities. With a leaner, nimbler team (and I don’t mean post-holiday-season dieting), we will have greater flexibility in our partnerships for 2011.
The Brazil, China and India markets all have permanent funding, which will enable us to build deeper relationships with key movers and shakers there for the long term. In the medium term, we’ve always got our eye open for opportunities to expand into new markets.
So 2011 here we come! There will be further challenges ahead, but I believe that the Canada travel industry has turned a corner and is on the way back up.
Happy holidays, wherever you may be—and keep exploring!