As Brand USA readies for the road to recovery, Canada will continue to be a major priority for the destination marketing organization for the United States.
“The role of Brand USA is to increase international inbound tourism into the US and of course Canada being both our closest neighbour and friend is also our biggest tourism market so you are always front and centre in our thinking and in our outreach,” says Tom Garzilli, chief marketing officer of Brand USA. “So as we get encouraging news around vaccines and when the States are going to start to return to normal — and we still have a little ways to go — but we at least can start dreaming and planning. We’ve all looked forward to getting to this moment, where you know consumers are going to start in earnest to really think about their travels and we want to be in front of them and we want them to be thinking about us.”
Garzilli says the Canadian market is important not only from a numbers perspective but also because their mission goes beyond promoting the major gateways to all the amazing and interesting experiences visitors can have in the US including spirits, food and live music.
“Canadian visitors tend to be one that is wanting to explore more, see new things and that’s something we really love to talk about,” he says.
Although the past nine months have been challenging, he says Brand USA has been working diligently to “keep the lights on” for domestic destination, attraction and hotel stakeholders. For example, they’ve developed a virtual Global Marketplace for stakeholders and the buyers and the media of the world to come together for meetings and events.
“On the trade side, we continue to train 100s of the travel agents in Canada,” he says. “We’re just doing everything we can to keep interest in and knowledge of the US alive.”