CTC’s annual B2B Asian trade show raises awareness and inspiration across four key markets.
The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s four horsemen of Asian tourism rode into South Korea in October to deliver an intense and rewarding international marketplace. Buyers from China, India, Japan and South Korea flocked to Busan for this year’s Showcase Canada-Asia, CTC’s biggest business-to-business event outside Canada.
The trade action unfolded over eight days (Oct. 13-20) at the Lotte Hotel in Busan. Delegates came in droves from four of CTC’s key international markets, with 194 buyers making their presence felt. The Canadian tourism industry was there in force to meet them: 170 reps from 89 seller companies from across the country (up 8% on last year’s attendance total, completed an exhausting 14,151 appointments during the Showcase.
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) and Quincy Smith, chair of Travel Alberta, were the Canadian VIP headliners.They were accompanied by Steve Allan, CTC chair, Charles McKee, CTC vice president, International, and Siobhan Chretien, CTC regional managing director, Emerging Markets Americas/Asia. The culinary delights of Canada also featured high on the Showcase menu: “Delicious Canada,” a food promotion run by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Lotte Hotel, allowed attendees and local South Koreans to get their taste buds around fine Canadian fare.
Showcase Canada-Asia followed a tried and trusted format: intense spells of one-to-one speed-dating style appointments interspersed with networking events to enable more business connections. There were some humdingers this year,including famous Canadian singer Shayne Orok (originally from Ottawa, ON, currently based in South Korea) giving a rousing rendition of “O Canada” at a welcome reception for Indian and South Korean buyers, a beachside BBQ and beer party for Japanese buyers and Canadian sellers and a series of Calgary Stampede breakfasts.
CTC co-sponsors at 2011’s Showcase Canada-Asia were Tourism British Columbia, Travel Alberta, Tourisme Québec, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Air Canada and the Calgary Stampede.
“With an efficient four-nation format, Showcase Canada-Asia has become a must-attend part of many Canadian sellers’ and international buyers’ marketing plans. Its success proves that nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to learn about new travel experiences, and build one’s sales network or contract business, even in this digital age,” says McKee. “We are proud to offer our industry partners Showcase Canada-Asia and the other marketplace events we do in both Canada and around the world.”