In our blog last year we predicted that 2015 would be a boon for the Canadian tourism industry, with the combination of a cheap loonie (The Canadian dollar) and record low gas prices. This would both entice US travellers over the border and encourage Canadian travellers to stay in Canada.
This effect was indeed strongly felt in 2015, with the number of foreign tourists to Canada increasing by 11% in the 12 months to January 2016. The low loonie was not just attractive to US visitors, with the boost also driven by visitors from the UK, China and France. In British Columbia, home of Zaui Software, a similar effect was seen, with an 8% increase in international visitors in 2015, with visitor numbers almost reaching 5 million. US entries into BC grew 9%, with almost 300,000 more overnight US visitors than in 2014.
While the good times are expected to continue in 2016, it is important to keep in mind that being a cheap place to visit is a bonus, but not what ultimately attracts people to Canada. If the tourism industry starts overemphasizing Canada as a cheap place to visit, it could backfire when the loonie rebounds. Therefore, messaging around value, uniqueness of experience and brand are as important as ever during this time.
In British Columbia, Destination BC has a range of integrated marketing programs designed to promote the brand “Super, Natural British Columbia” and BC as a tourism destination. The brand promises a unique kind of travel experience, and guides expectations of not only what travellers will see and do, but also how they will feel. BC operators wanting to learn more about Destination BC’s new brand can click here for more information.