By: Ian Stalker
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada and Destination Canada say Canadians won’t have to go far to help get this country’s ailing tourism trade back on its feet.
In fact, they won’t have to go far at all.
Senior officials from both tourism bodies joined representatives from provincial and territorial tourism boards Friday to encourage people to vacation in this country when they decide to travel again.
The May 21 virtual presentation came on the eve of May 23-30 Tourism Week.
“We are asking Canadians to choose to travel in Canada first,” said TIAC president Beth Potter, who began issuing warnings last year that an industry that employs 2 million Canadians is in serious financial jeopardy because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. “Canada cannot afford to lose the tourism industry… Our operators are ready to welcome you.”
Destination Canada president Marsha Walden said individual Canadians can “be a leading light” by vacationing in Canada, then sharing their travel experiences with others and inspiring them to take Canadian vacations. They can inform others “how ready our industry is” to host people, she continued.
This week is a great opportunity for those in tourism to remind Canadians about “the value of Canadian tourism in their communities,” she added.
Both TIAC and Destination Canada are asking Canadians to take the “tourism pledge” that would commit them to make a Canadian vacation their first vacation after deciding to travel again. Both tourism promotion bodies say if Canadians spent two-thirds of their travel budgets for a normal year on travel within this country it would be a major boost for Canadian tourism.
Those wanting to take the pledge can do so at Tourismcounts.ca, which Potter described as an “invitation to come together.” Tourismcounts.ca is the social media gateway for Tourism Week in Canada and carries the tagline, “It’s What Makes Canada Glow.” That statement will be brought to life throughout the week as tourism operators from coast-to-coast-coast are encouraged to light up their businesses with the “glowing green” that represents Tourism Week.
Through Tourism Week, industry stakeholders are encouraged to share the message, embrace the campaign and use resources available at TourismCounts.ca, as well as host media events and distribute press releases to highlight their region, destination and their industry members’ contribution to Canada’s Tourism ecosystem.
Walden said the past year has been “incredibly challenging” for those in tourism, but added that there is “hope on the horizon” as vaccinations to protect people against coronavirus are continuing in this country and elsewhere.
Walden also urged people to get the coronavirus vaccination, saying that will help lead to the lifting of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus but which also have put a damper on travel.
She also said this country has a “unique set of cities” that have parks, lakes and canals that outdoors enthusiasts will enjoy.
To mark Tourism Week, Destination Canada has launched two initiatives to inspire Canadians to travel domestically as restrictions allow. The domestic campaign efforts highlight the faces and places that make travel in this country so important and unique.
Heartbeat of Canada: Tourism Anthem video
The video spotlights the makers, performers, business owners, and staff who make up Canada’s tourism sector. The people featured are tourism workers. Drummer Sharon Rose Ransom is central to the video, and delivers a “powerful drum solo that’s full of energy, symbolizing hope and a desire for rebirth. The prominence of drums in the video reflects Canada’s spirit and “heartbeat”, as an instrument of celebration and motivation – representing an industry that, despite facing hardship, remains positive.”
Inspiring Domestic travel: Postcard campaign
Destination Canada is inviting Canadians to send a postcard to the family and friends they have missed during the pandemic. The initiative was inspired by Destination Canada’s research, which shows that 39% of Canadians expect their first trip will be to visit loved ones and friends. The series of postcards are inspired by destinations from coast to coast to coast and can be sent in French and English. Canadians can access the postcards online, then have them printed and mailed anywhere in Canada. This effort is meant to inspire Canadians to explore and enjoy travel in their country when restrictions lift.