German journalists broke new ground with a First Nations-themed trip, Alberta got an A grade from French scribes while BC was the bees’ knees for Indian media.
Travellers often want to try new experiences in new countries, but lack inspiration. That’s where international media can play a vital role for Canada, telling compelling stories after going on FAM (familiarization) trips to experience these adventures themselves.
The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s in-market offices assembled trips for leading broadcasters, bloggers, photographers and journalists from its major international markets. Wrapping up 2014 in a nice holiday-season bow, the latest of our quarterly series brings some choice tales:
Germany: In partnership with Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, CTC-Germany organized its inaugural First Nations-themed FAM trip to Manitoulin Island, ON, during the fall. Five German media, representing 10 different outlets with a combined circulation of one million, spent six days on the Great Spirit Circle Trail, experiencing a medicine walk, sunset canoe ride, drum lessons, a night in a tipi and a pow-wow. Five leading German radio and newspaper journalists took a seven-night trip to Nova Scotia in October as well. They immersed themselves in local tourism experiences, such as tours of Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and Pier 21 – Canadian Museum of Immigration. They also spent their days enjoying the sights and sounds of the Celtic Colours International Festival, and a night at The Parks Canada oTENTik.
France: CTC-France organized a FAM trip to Alberta this past fall for economic journalists from five leading French publications: Les Échos, L’Express, Le Figaro, Challenges and Usine Nouvelle. The trip highlighted tourism experiences in the Canadian Rockies, including horseback riding in Banff, a heli-tour of the area and a stay at Fairmont Château Lake Louise—all in advance of the trip to the province in November by French President François Hollande.
Australia: CTC-Australia arranged a FAM trip for Sue Wallace, a writer for The Seniorand The Border Mail newspapers, which have circulations of 200,000 and 100,000 respectively, to Manitoba. Wallace spent several days touring Winnipeg, which included a visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She also enjoyed a Tundra Buggy® trip with Frontiers North to see the polar bears in Churchill. On top of that, three Aussie Instagrammers—Garry Norris, Paul Flemingand Lauren Bath—visited Quebec to turn the magnificent fall foliage into compelling images, videos and stories.
UK: CTC-UK put on its salopettes and hosted a ski FAM trip to Alberta and British Columbia for key UK tour operators in December. During the seven-night trip, nine reps from Crystal Holidays, Canadian Affair, Ski Safari, Ski Independence and Ski World discovered the great winter experiences in Banff, Lake Louise, Fernieand Kicking Horse. Their new first-hand knowledge will make it so much easier so sell similar trips to UK consumers in 2015.
India: Indian media made a beeline for BC Oct. 6-13. Journalists from The Times of India, The Telegraph, consumer lifestyle mag VERVE and two freelancers took in travel experiences in Vancouver, Whistler and Victoria. Their adventures, including a trip on the Sea to Sky Gondola, high tea at the Fairmont Empress and a seaplane ride, will make compelling reading for an Indian audience.
Mexico: Popular blogger Veronica Marmolejo spent eight nights in western Canada in October. Her FAM trip started in Vancouver, BC, before a train ride to Jasper, AB, for a look at the wider universe the Dark Sky Festival. From there, she spent a day in Edmonton, including the shopping paradise of West Edmonton Mall, before heading to Whitehorse, YK, for the highlight of her trip for her and her avid readership: the aurora borealis. Veronica also found time to enjoy the snow and a dog-sled ride while in Canada’s North.
South Korea: CTC-South Korea and Travel Alberta joined forces to bring two sets of famous fathers and sons to the Canadian Rockies in December as part of the South Korean TV hit show “Where are you going, Daddy?”. The prime-time Sunday evening reality show featured South Korean soccer star Jung-hwan Ahn and his son alongside popular singer Minsoo Yoon and his son.
International: CTC teamed up with Destination British Columbia for its first Google+ FAM trip. Four leading online influencers—Sherry Ott, Carlos Alcos, Jordan Manleyand Devin Graham spent five days at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, sharing their adventures on Google+, Instagram and Facebook.