David Goldstein looks at the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in 2015 for CTC and the Canadian tourism industry.
David Goldstein took the reins at the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), Canada’s national tourism marketer, on Dec. 1. Mr. Goldstein brings extensive experience in national leadership, communications and strategic business planning to his new position, thanks to a long and distinguished career in the tourism and media sectors that included senior roles at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and CTVglobemedia.
A new journey now awaits. Fresh into the hot seat, Mr. Goldstein reveals what he’s most looking forward to in his new position, the opportunities that lie ahead and more:
What are you looking forward to the most about the new role?
First of all, I think we are in the midst of a significant recovery for the industry after some difficult years, and that’s great to see. I want to keep this momentum going by working with the CTC team and our industry to strengthen partnerships and help more tourism businesses, especially the small- and medium-sized ones, become export-market ready to win more business for Canada.
What opportunities do you see ahead for Canadian tourism and the CTC?
We’re just hitting our stride and starting to reap the benefits of strategic tourism marketing and global growth in travel and tourism. Our next big opportunity will be getting back into the US marketplace. If we can keep up great results like we’ve had this year, and add to that the extra piston of re-engaging the US visitor, there is going to be a tremendous future for our sector over the next five to 10 years.
On the flip side, what obstacles do you see ahead for Canadian tourism and the CTC?
The lack of alignment within the industry has been big issue for many years, but there is an openness and urgency to address that now. Canada’s tourism industry just met at the TIAC Congress in Ottawa, and the willingness to work together across the industry was the most resounding theme on the floor of that event. The mood at that Congress was also the most positive that I’ve witnessed in years. I’m not alone in my optimism.
I had the good fortune of being on a trade mission to China last month with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Over the course of this mission I was able to spend some time with the CTC team and our partners, and observed how well aligned the tourism team is on the ground, all geared toward great results. CTC recently met with its provincial and territorial counterparts and the drive for alignment within this group is strong, be it looking at how we work inside markets, discussing a renewed approach to re-entering the US market, or considering how the whole industry will now benefit through EQ, CTC’s customer segmentation research.
These are all breakthroughs with more to come.
Where do you hope to see Canadian tourism and the CTC positioned five years from now?
I’m one who likes to believe the glass is two-thirds full. I believe in aspirational goals. Five years from now I’d like to see us looking to boost international travel by 5% to match global growth rates and capitalize on this booming industry. That’s going to stimulate re-investments in products, and export strength for Canada’s economy.
Given your extensive experience working with industry, how do you plan to leverage those relationships?
My time at TIAC has given me a deep appreciation of the people who make up this industry. This sector consists predominantly of small- and medium-sized businesses. These are entrepreneurs who work exceptionality hard, are extremely creative and passionate. Many of them are looking for a way to find access to international markets. By getting to know members of this industry on a personal basis from coast to coast to coast, I have a better understanding of their perspective, of how they see themselves and of their needs. This will help me to develop and strengthen CTC partnerships even more going forward.
Canadian tourism’s up against strong competition in the global marketplace; how can Canada compete?
Let’s begin with the fact that Canada is blessed with the basics of a tremendous brand and exceptional experiences! With aligned investments in strategic marketing we can compete or surpass the best of them.
Why should travellers put Canada on their ‘Visit Now’ list?
Our industry has created award-winning products that make Canada stand out. We’re in a great position to capture pent-up demand for this country. We are hosting world-class events like the PanAm Games, which puts us front of mind in the Americas. Canada’s 150th birthday is just around the corner in 2017 and there’s going to be tremendous opportunity for all of us to drive visitation around the festivals, events and culture that will be part of the celebration.
You’ve travelled all over Canada during your career. What’s the next place in Canada on your personal must-visit list?
There are too many too exceptional experiences and places—don’t make me choose! My love for exploring this country began when I was a teenager camping in the Rockies. I’m inspired by every entrepreneur with a passion for Canada and the vision to create amazing tourism products. They’re all on my list.