Speeches and Presentations

Rendez-vous Canada Edmonton Sunday May 13, 2012 Opening Remarks ~ Michele McKenzie

Good afternoon. 

Welcome to Rendez-vous Canada.

The Canadian Tourism Commission is proud to be presenting Canada’s 2012 annual international trade show for tourism.


Bienvenue à Rendez-vous Canada.

La Commission canadienne du tourisme est fière de présenter l’édition 2012 du salon professionnel international annuel du Canada pour le tourisme.

First off, very important words for very important people:

Thank You.   MERCI.

To His Worship, Mayor Mandel and the City of Edmonton.

To Edmonton Tourism, the Shaw Conference Centre, DMF Hotels.

To Industry Partners and Attractions, the RVC Host Committee.

To the Many Volunteers.

and To Travel Alberta.

Edmonton is fabulous and fully primed for business. 

We’re very pleased to have some valued partnerships that make RVC possible as well:

 Our Diamond Partners: Air Canada, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Nova Scotia Tourism and Parks Canada and our many other platinum, gold, silver and bronze sponsors.

Ladies and gentleman, the Canadian Tourism Commission continues to be inspired by what you do.  We know how much you contribute to the success, strength and appeal of Canada’s international tourism brand.

You have both an enviable and daunting job: 

take a piece of Canada, keep it authentic, package it competitively, connect with the right buyers, create memories for travellers, and make sales.

For our part CTC has to;

Understand the international environment, research the competition, identify the opportunity for Canada’s tourism competitive advantage, keep our international tourism brand authentic, and help you to sell more Canada to the world.

So although we have somewhat different jobs – we end up meeting at the same place – success for business.

At Rendez-vous Canada this is that meeting place.

We’re very proud to be your business partner here in Edmonton.

We have the privilege of marketing Canada’s international tourism brand with your future clients in 11 markets around the world.   CTC utilizes multiple channels to convert ‘Canada dreamers’ into arrivals; from media relations to social media advocacy; at business-to-business events where we invite Canadian sellers to join us; through new programming; and with compelling marketing campaigns; and we’re going to do it better – by taking advantage of disruptive technology and social media – we’re learning to squeeze a lot more from less.

Our in market teams have the networks and know-how to keep Canada front of mind, despite the competition.

They develop and nurture the key accounts who will ultimately bring business to your door.  And they contribute to influencing travellers to book a trip.

Our team may not be large but they but are extremely knowledgeable about their business environment. They identify trends before they might be called trends, so that we can have the best shot of staying ahead of the competition.   Because if you are being outspent, you better be smarter.

Many of you are aware that a reduction of $14.2M to our core budget will be implemented starting in 2013 as part of the government’s commitment to balanced budgets. CTC is part of that commitment.

Rest assured that our organization is nimble and will adjust with optimum results for the industry in mind.

We are facing a growing competitive threat from Australia and the US. With strong resourcing, both countries are now launching major new tourism marketing efforts. They are our top competition in almost every market we invest in, and are after our domestic market as well.

This is our reality and one we can’t ignore.  But we know if you can’t outspend the competition, you can outsmart the competition.  

As an industry, we have tourism experiences that are connecting emotionally with travellers.  We are using customer advocacy.  We have the relationships in markets.  And we are working on new funding solutions to amplify our role.

Our job is to create demand, and bring more business to your door.  That’s what we’re here to do at RVC.

Part of our job at CTC is also to share key market information with you; this afternoon you’ll have a great opportunity to hear some of the latest insights from both emerging and core markets.

As your business partner at RVC, we want you to have the best trade event possible in order to attract broad domestic and international attendance.  And ultimately close sales.

In 2011 at RVC in Quebec City, 77% of you said you were satisfied with the number of sales contracts obtained at RVC.  We want to raise that bar.  We think we can do it.  

We’re listening to your feedback and adjusting.

I think you’ll find improvements this year. 

TIAC has done a great job of responding to your needs and I’d like to thank them for their dedication to this event as well as to its future expansion.    

As of next year, CTC will merge the best in show-management with the best in tourism industry knowledge.  Under a new agreement, RVC will be produced for CTC by PR1ME Strategies event managers with TIAC.

This is a dynamic solution for our industry and the future of RVC. This trade event with Canada’s tourism brand will be showcased even more boldly across the country, and internationally.

I have to say as well, that more and more I am seeing our country as one that ‘gets’ tourism. 

The Federal Tourism Strategy - a new way to bring together policy makers that have an impact on tourism - has already begun to pay dividends for the industry.   Some of this news will be shared with you this afternoon by our guests from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

I’m really pleased that this is the new tourism environment for Canada.   It’s been a long time coming.

I guess my closing message today is:  despite challenges, we have positive momentum building for our industry.

For the first time since the onset of the economic uncertainty of 2009, I’m very pleased to see an upswing in travellers from every country where CTC invests.

We have a strong Country Brand that remains Number One in the world.

CTC’s tourism Brand is being strengthened and refreshed through the Signature Experiences Collection, a program that shows travellers the types of experiences that are available in Canada from coast to coast to coast.  These experiences are the calling cards for bringing in more business for everyone.

And you a have National Tourism Marketing Organization that is

resilient and determined.  CTC will continue to work on your behalf to deliver on a shared objective of growing Tourism across Canada.

And right now, we are very enthusiastic about getting down to business and opening up the trading floor at RVC Edmonton.