While the number of U.S. travelers to Canada has decreased in recent years, due to factors such as the new passport requirement, a reduction in Canadian marketing promotions in the U.S., and a rising Canadian dollar, NTA President Lisa Simon said that the path to rebuilding U.S. tourism to Canada lies in tapping growth markets.
Simon's comments came as she addressed members of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership at the North American Trade Symposium in Toronto. “Looking at today’s operator marketplace, NTA sees many opportunities involving new business, burgeoning markets and a fresh way of looking at the tried and true.”
Simon cited a dramatic rise in the number of tour operators and suppliers creating new programs, products and services that cater to the interests of upward-trending markets: intergenerational families, faith-based groups, adventure seekers, students and baby boomers, as well as independent travelers.
She advised the audience, comprised mostly of travel industry suppliers, to find tour operators who can help them develop new product, as each market has its own nuances. She also said that that Canada remains the number-one international destination for NTA operators, with more than 300 member companies packaging travel to Canada.
“When looking for ways to increase travel here from the United States, we do have challenges, but with the combination of incredible culture, international flavor and outdoor activities, Ontario has so much to offer any traveler,” said Simon.
“I applaud Sandra Rice, with Ontario Tourism, for bringing the industry together to discuss these tough issues. The Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership has such vision and continues to be a real leader in Canada," Simon said.
Along with Simon, presenters at the symposium included American Bus Association President Pete Pantuso; Judy Rogers, president of Research Resolutions and Consulting; Norman Howe, president of Butterfield & Robinson; Victoria Pearson, president of Routes to Learning Canada; and Ann Fairley, vice-president of the Ontario Motor Coach Association.