Canadian Tourism sells ‘signature experiences’ to high-end travelers

It's not about cities and provinces anymore. Experience is the name of Canada's tourism game.

Experience, not location, takes centre stage in new campaign

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has developed a new marketing program to attract high-spending international travelers that diverges from previous marketing strategies.

The CTC’s Signature Experiences Collection is an organization of 48 individual tourism enterprises from across the country.

Among the experiences offered by current members are Edible British Columbia’s tours of the Granville Island Market, the Calgary Stampede’s “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s “Beyond the Stage,” the Quebec Winter Carnival’s Grand Festival of Winter and tours of the Alexander Keith’s brewery in Halifax.

Greg Klassen, senior vice-president of marketing for the CTC, said the program represents a shift from marketing initiatives that emphasize specific geographical attributes.

“I don’t think our customers care as much as we think they do how we’re divided into provinces and cities, but that’s what we’ve been selling,” said Klassen. “We’ve got a bunch of politically divided geographies and we sell them as best we can.

“But ultimately, customers aren’t just choosing geographies. They’re choosing the kinds of experiences they can have against the backdrops of those geographies.”

Klassen said the CTC is in the process of collecting information and collateral from Collection members. That information will be incorporated into marketing campaigns slated to appear later this year in markets such as France, Australia and the U.K.

The campaigns will feature the CTC’s tagline, “Canada. Keep exploring.”

Tourism organizations can apply for membership in the Signature Experiences Collection by visiting the CTC website.

Klassen indicated that the CTC intends to grow the Signature Experiences Collection to a membership of roughly 100.

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