In today's competitive marketplace, tourism-focused businesses need to make every resource count and to clearly focus on what can set them apart from the competition. This is especially true in the travel industry where prospective travellers are deluged with offers and deals. And it's where the CTC can help make the difference.
If you're new to the tourism industry, you're in the right place. The CTC inspires domestic and international visitors to explore Canada, focusing on the extra-ordinary experiences this country has to offer. We have information, resources and tips to help you get started in tourism.
Get to know your local destination marketing organizations.
Canada's tourism industry is a dynamic affiliation of public and private sector organizations ranging from small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to provincial marketing organizations (PMOs) to destination marketing organizations (DMOs). We also have a wealth of tourism industry and trade associations.
If you're starting out in tourism, your local destination marketing organization or regional marketing organization is your main point of contact with the rest of the tourism industry.
Let's say you're opening a new attraction in Vancouver. Tourism Vancouver can be a great source of insight and knowledge to help you establish yourself in the marketplace. Local convention and visitors bureaus are also great resources.
When your business is more established and export ready, regional marketing organizations can help you get involved in international media or trade familiarization (FAM) tours and promote your business through provincial marketing organizations, all of which work closely with the CTC.
If you don't know your regional marketing organization, contact your provincial or territorial marketing organization.
Questions to ask before embarking on your new tourism venture.
You've come up with the idea for a perfect visitor experience. But you're not sure where to go from here. Here are just a few questions to consider:
- Do you want a part-time business or a full-time tourism enterprise? Will it be you primary source of income or a supplement to other income?
- Who are your key target markets? What do they expect in a travel experience?
- Are there other similar products/experiences in your region? If so, what makes yours different?
- Are you looking for domestic or international visitors?
- What regions of Canada or the world will your customers be coming from? What do you know about these visitors and their travel interests?
- How will your customers search for and purchase your type of travel experience (e.g. online searches, travel agents, national tour booking organizations)?
- What unique stories in your region can be incorporated into your product to give visitors the strong connection to place they crave?
- Does your product meet national quality standards?
- What funding sources will you need to get your business up and running?
- Does your idea effectively utilize your own skills and abilities?
- Can you find personnel that have the expertise you lack?
The CTC has world-class research and intelligence resources to help you learn more about travel markets, consumer interests and travel motivations, and to stay on top of current travel trends.
Get more information on developing your tourism experience by downloading the CTC's Experiences toolkit.
One of the CTC's latest marketing initiatives is the Explorer QuotientTM (EQ), an award-winning tool that uses an online quiz to go beyond traditional demographics to discover the values and motivation behind travel decisions. The results are divided into nine "Explorer Types," from Free Spirit to Cultural Explorer to Authentic Experiencer. The CTC is launching a series of kits to give businesses easy access to harness the power of EQ and serve up the experiences that travellers are most likely to buy.
Resources for funding for your tourism business.
A number of federal government agencies and programs assist small businesses with funding support as well as creating business plans. They include:
The CSBF Program, under the Canada Small Business Financing Act, can assist businesses in obtaining term loans and capital leases of up to $500,000 to help finance fixed asset needs. It does so by encouraging financial institutions and leasing companies to make their financing available to small businesses.
BDC is a federal Crown corporation providing a range of financial services for small- and medium-size businesses across.
The CBSC network is a collaborative arrangement-among several Government of Canada departments, provincial and territorial governments, and in some cases, not-for-profit organizations-that assists Canadian entrepreneurs in obtaining the correct information, advice and support they need to start their own businesses. Check out its interactive business planner.
EDC is a federal Crown corporation that operates as a Canadian financial institution. It provides financing services to support Canadian exporters and investors, and offers a range of services including accounts receivable insurance for tourism operators, so that they can grow their in-bound business and increase their access to working capital.
Contact your provincial and territorial marketing organization for additional funding resources.
Turn your tourism product into an experience customers will remember.
To succeed in tourism, you need to stand out from the competition. Do some basic market research to determine if tourism businesses in your region are offering similar products, and then make sure your tourism experience is unique and compelling.
The CTC has created an Experiences toolkit designed to help turn your tourism product into an experience your customers can't stop talking about. The kit provides quick diagnostic tools to help you align your business with the expectations of today's travellers. You'll also find insight and advice on improving your tourism experience for a wide range of traveller types.
Like any top mechanic, the CTC has a deep and diverse toolbox to help SMEs leverage Canada's tourism brand. Canada ranked second as the world's most respected country brand last year-and the influential Lonely Planet guide named it one of the "Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2009. Our Brand toolkit will give you a great introduction to our brand, and help you capture the look and feel of the brand in promoting your tourism business.
Staying on top of tourism trends and industry news.
Stay current by subscribing CTC NEWS for daily updates on CTC research & statistics, marketing programs, tourism issues, industry trends and more.
You can also sign up for newsletters through your provincial or territorial marketing organizations.
Other tourism industry links
Aboriginal Tourism Canada
Tourism Associations of British Columbia
Canada Revenue Agency
Canada Border Services Agency
Canadian Association of Tour Operators
Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council
Hotel Association of Canada
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
United Nations World Tourism Organization
World Tourism Organization