The Canadian Tourism Commission vowed to ramp up its support of the UK trade as it outlined plans to capitalise on the impending royal visit and reposition the country’s tourism offering.
William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will be in the country from June 30-July 8 on their first royal visit. The CTC aims to help agents cash in on the increased awareness of the country in the UK following media coverage of the couple as they visit Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Québec and the Northwest Territories.
Speaking at the Rendez-vous Canada tourism marketplace in Québec City, Rupert Peters, the CTC’s regional managing director for core markets, said: “My message to agents in the UK is that we’re really going to be ramping up our activity around the time of the royal tour.
“We’re doing our bit to get the word out there; please use that to your advantage to sell more Canada.”
Peters admits the country isn’t always the easiest sell, a point not helped by the strength of its dollar.
“Canada lacks immediacy – people think ‘we’ll go someday’,” he said, adding: “We want to help agents tell the country’s story, and to get people thinking beyond moose, mounties and mountains.”
To this end the CTC is running agent roadshows to support its recently relaunched Canada Specialist programme.
The roadshows are open to agents, homeworkers and tour operator reservation staff, and will be held in the East Midlands area (July 6), Gatwick (July 7), Glasgow (July 13) and Manchester (July 14), with each event starting at 6.30pm.
Attendees will also be able to enter a draw to win one of five places on the CTC’s next super-fam, taking place on September 12-18.
The CTC’s key sales messages include how Canada’s cities are on the edge of nature and how ‘it’s closer than you think’, with flights to Atlantic Canada taking just over five hours.
To highlight the country’s unique qualities, the CTC is packaging up a collection of Signature Experiences for Canada Specialist, backed by information on how agents can book them. Peters urged all UK agents to make the most of this resource.
Agents can also benefit from new product. For example, Air Canada will increase the frequency of its London Heathrow-Montreal service from daily to twice-daily from May 28, while upping its Dublin-Toronto service from six flights a week to daily from June 30.
The delayed scenic train service from Quebec City to Le Massif de Charlevoix will open in September.
Standout new hotels include the Rosewood Georgia, opening in Vancouver in July, while new training tools include a trade website for the Northwestern Territories, launching June.
The Rocky Mountaineer train in British Columbia began operating its new mid-tier Silver Leaf service on selected services this month and will start running its new Coastal Passage routes from Seattle to Calgary or Jaspar in Canada on selected dates in August 2012.
The operator is also increasing its rail-cruise options, having added Disney Cruise options to ones from Holland America Line, and is refurbishing and redesigning all of its high-end Gold Leaf carriages by the end of 2012, by which point Gold Leaf guests will receive new luxury, complimentary amenity kits.
Following a poor ski season in Europe, hindered by bad snow conditions, the CTC also expects UK agents to see strong winter bookings this year. And on an international scale, Peters pointed to an upsurge in interest from buyers from emerging markets, notably China, Brazil and India, at this year’s Rendez-vous as a sign of how the country’s tourism offering was developing.
For more information on Signature Experiences or to book a place on the CTC agent roadshows call 0870 161 5151.
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