The Hermetic Code Tour in Winnipeg, MB, is an intriguing tourism experience that more international travellers will discover.
The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s Signature Experiences Collection® (SEC) is a trump card for Canada being a destination that international travellers choose first. CTC’s research shows that the high-quality Canadian tourism businesses that comprise the Collection are the apples of the eyes of CTC’s target customers.
CTC has just released the list of the latest qualified SEC members from around the country. The best way of discovering what SEC means for the tourism industry is from the industry itself. Here, Don Finkbeiner, owner of Heartland International Travel & Tours, explains to CTC News why his business applied to join and what benefits lie ahead.
Finkbeiner launched Heartland International Travel & Tours in 2001, running tours that bring to life Winnipeg and Manitoba for domestic and international visitors. The Hermetic Code Tour, which unravels the esoteric mysteries of Manitoba’s Legislative Building, is now part of the Signature Experiences Collection®.
Have you worked with the CTC before?
I know many people at CTC through attending Rendez-vous Canada (RVC). I actually brought the Hermetic Code to the attention of the CTC a couple of years back. It led to some filming and to some of the attention being taken away from the polar bears in Manitoba.
When did you first hear of the Signature Experiences Collection®?
When it was announced at Rendez-vous Canada.
What motivated you to apply?
I was really encouraged by Tourism Winnipeg and Travel Manitoba to take part as I do a great deal of work with them. I must have done at least 50 media tours for travel writers hosted by one or the other, and they are really on-board with the SEC.
Did you use any of CTC’s tools and resources to help with the application or with your business in the past? If so, which ones and how?
CTC’s presentations on Signature Experiences at RVC first gave me the idea to apply. In the past, I’ve also gone through the EQ [Explorer Quotient®] toolkit all the way and sat in several seminars to improve my knowledge.
Was the application process straightforward?
Initially the application form appeared overwhelming as some of the questions were not directly applicable directly to me. Using a systematic step-by-step approach it all became much easier.
What kind of travellers does your business attract?
Mainly high-end, sophisticated travellers come for our tours. The Hermetic Code has such intrigue for people, because of its links back to Greek gods, philosophy and the origins of freemasonry. It also attracts people with a keen interest in that type of architecture.
What benefits do you see for your business by being a member of the SEC?
It brings greater awareness of Winnipeg and Manitoba, more than anything else. Right now, Manitoba is mainly known for polar bears, which is a fraction of what this province has to offer.
How will you go about promoting your membership?
We’ll definitely give it prominence on our website, Facebook page, Twitter stream and in our newsletters. We’ve won awards before, but this is at another level that is so important to us—international recognition.
Are there specific international markets you can see your business resonating in through the Signature Experiences Collection®?
Businessmen from China and India have already been intrigued by the Hermetic Code tour, especially the parallels of awe and wonder to temples in their own countries. For American visitors, the Masonic influences of the building can be related to the Masonic design layout of Washington, DC. All this has created a great dialogue between us, as well as an interesting link between all the cultures. For me, it is very enlightening.