CTC News

Industry update: social-media innovation drives Canadian tourism industry forward.

Parks Canada teams up with Google to give visitors a new look, while WestJet has a blockbuster seasonal video hit.

23 January 2014

New technology sheds fresh light on marketing initiatives and no-one carries a bigger social-media torch in Canada than the travel industry. We at the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) are delighted to pull together another round of some of the beacons across the country. Don’t forget to send your suggestions and recommendations of outstanding social-media projects to CTC News (instructions how at the end of this story).

  • Park life: Parks Canada formed a special partnership with Google to create more than 70 virtual tours of parks and historic sites across the country. There are some real visual treats for consumers browsing via Google Street View, including Banff National Park, AB, the Rideau Canal, ON, Green Gables Heritage Place, PEI, and Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. Plans are already underway for more sites to be added in 2014.
  • Seasonal cheer: WestJet made some dreams come true with “Westjet Christmas Miracle,” its smash hit on YouTube. Over 250 passengers on two flights from Toronto and Hamilton, ON, to Calgary, AB, were asked by a “live Santa” what they wanted to find under the tree. While the passengers were en route, a team of 150 Westjetters hit the stores on a mission to make those wishes come true. You can imagine the scenes then at the baggage carousels when Santa stepped forward. Awww…



  • Ch-ch-ch-changes: Destination St. John’s has stepped boldly into 2014 with a new responsive website. Staying true to its Original Encounters brand, the site looks to capitalize on the increasing numbers of travellers who do their research on smartphones and tablets. The website showcases the broad range of rich experiences for travellers, whether they be in Newfoundland and Labrador for business, sporting event or festival.
  • Recipe for success: Big hat tip to Tourism Richmond for claiming the “Social Media Initiative of the Year Award” at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada's (TIAC) annual Canadian Tourism Awards. Its 365 Days of Dining blog brilliantly captured the dining experiences in the city, with a major focus on Asian cuisine, in the words and images of Lindsay Anderson. The blog, which still gets 5,000-plus daily visits, drew an audience of more than 500,000 from June 2012 to June 2013.

Do you have or have you seen innovative examples of social-media travel marketing? This is a regular CTC News series, so keep those recommendations coming in. E-mail the ctcnews [at] ctc-cct [dot] ca (Corporate Communications team), drop us a tweet @DestinationCAN or post a comment below.



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A highlight at Toque & Canoe this year was when we sent - with the help of our partners in tourism - governor award-winning poet Lorna Crozier into the Great Bear Rainforest. Her post prompted huge engagement (comments from readers including Robert Bateman's wife Birgit and re-publication in the online U.S. publication Counterpunch given its eco angle) - but the highlight was when Margaret Atwood retweeted a link to the story to her half a million followers worldwide. Tourism gets literary. Another bonus was ensuring that Lorna followed her piece with us with a different version for the Globe and Mail that ran in early Jan of this year - which launched more national exposure for Canada's wildest place. Traditional media still has its place - but so cool, we thought, that all of this was driven by a guest blog post produced by one extraordinary Canadian poet. http://toqueandcanoe.com/2013/10/14/lornacroziergreatbearrainforest/