- Canada received approximately 1.65 million international visitors during the month of September,a decline of 2.5% compared to the same month in2011;
- Despite strong performance by Australia (+14.0%), overall arrivals from CTC’s core markets recorded a sixth consecutive monthly decline in September (-3.9%), bringing the year to date number of overnight visitors to 1,386,774, down slightly (-1.2%) over the same period last year;
- Total arrivals from CTC’s emerging markets (Japan,South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, China and India) were flat(+0.1%) in September, although year to date arrivals toSeptember were still up 7.9% to 829,692 compared to the same period last year.
2013 will be a challenging year for Canadian Tourism. Being the second best country brand in the world (after Switzerland) does not make a difference when it comes to tourism. Mexico is not even in the top 25, but it continues to do well in the sector, despite its image problems. Several things are making it difficult for Canadian Tourism to flourish. We are an expensive country to visit, given the alternatives (airport access is a major issue, e.g. high rents). Our strong currency makes us even more expensive and it encourages Canadians to travel abroad (or at least to the US) which puts pressure on our domestic business and increases our travel deficit. The weak global economy does not help either.
What to do? I would suggest to focus on the 3 drivers of tourism in 2013: proximity, price and ease of access. Target travellers closest to your destination: locally, provincially, nationally and internationally in that order. For example Niagara Falls should campaign more to Torontonians and Southern Ontarians, followed by Quebeckers and then target New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio. I'm not implying that a destination should stop marketing to their traditional national and overseas markets, but to rethink how it targets the travellers closest to them.