Canada was granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) by China in June 2010, allowing Destination Canada and the travel trade to actively market Canada directly to Chinese consumers. Since then, Destination Canada -China has undertaken a variety of marketing activities that haveincreased the awareness of Canada in China and Chinese visitor numbers to Canada.
Destination Canada-China has moved to a full content-marketing strategy. Destination Canada-China launched Zhou You Jianada (CTCTV) in June 2014 as an online biweekly program covering travel in Canada and related lifestyle topics, which reaches more than 22 million Chinese consumers. Its content covers three main categories: feature episodes that showcase favourite and must-visit Canadian destinations; themed episodes based on travel and lifestyle; and viral concepts highlighting Chinese internet trends such as “Why Canadians love hockey.” CTCTV reaches China’s digital generation with a fresh take on Canadian travel destinations, including outdoor activities, lifestyle, culinary, entertainment, fashion and cultural experiences. The program is hosted on Destination Canada’s Chinese consumer website and streamed to audiences on China’s most popular video platform, iQiyi, as well as on other popular video sites.
To increase the popularity of CTCTV and to offer new, interesting creative and innovative content that will appeal to our target audience, Destination Canada-Chinahas changed the format and content by using Godfrey Gao, a well-known Chinese model and actor with a strong Canada connection, asthe main face of Canada in 2015. There will also begreater use of celebrities, key opinion leaders, paid expert guests and more original filming in Canada.
CTCTV is the core engine of all consumer marketing initiatives and has strong connections with trade and media activities.The channel highlights the content and experiences of partner provinces and territories—Destination British Columbia, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Travel Alberta, Tourisme Québec, Yukon Tourism, Northwest Territories Tourism and TravelManitoba—with calls to action to partner-recommended agents.
Destination Canada-China has created one consumer website. Chinese consumers can visit this site to get travel ideas, learn about Canadian destinations, view podcasts and read the Chinese e-brochure. There is also an option to explore Canada through various fully independent traveller (FIT) and group itineraries. All CTCTV videos are available on the consumer website as well as all the FIT/group itineraries. Consumers can easily click through to the travel agents’ websites for bookings.
Social media has an important role for CTCTV. Destination Canada-China is active in Weibo and through WeChat, the latter now being the dominant social media platform in China. All Weibo messages and WeChat stories are closely linked with the CTCTV programs, either through extensive information or a series of consumer interactive contests designed to attract more views to CTCTV videos and maintain fans’ engagement.
Destination Canada-China’s travel-trade development focuses on the wholesale and retail aspects of selling travel. The China team conducts co-op advertising and promotion with our Canadian partners and 34 preferred agencies, organizes trade shows, conducts sales calls, organizes tour-operator and partner familiarization (FAM) tours and conducts group or in-house training seminars in major cities in China. Destination British Columbia, Travel Alberta, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporationand Tourisme Québec are key partners.
Destination Canada-China enlarged its preferred agency list to 34 after discussions with the Canadian Embassy and key players from Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and other major cities. Preferred agencies have a simplified visa application process for ADS group travel.
The Canadian Embassy started the Canada Interest Stream-Free Independent Traveller (CIS-FIT) programin April 2013 to provide improved service and turnaround times for FIT visa applicationsfrom Destination Canada-China preferred agencies. These agents provide quality FIT itineraries that promote the Canadian regions, provinces and territories new to Chinese travellers. Six agents—CYTS Vacations, China Travel Service Head Office, Beijing Utour International Travel Service, Beijing Comfort Travel, Shanghai International Youth Travel Service and Guangzhou Nanhu International Travel Service—currently participate in the program.In addition to the C+ fast-track process for previous Canadian visa holders and holders of a current US visa, a new category, SUNA, is being introduced by the Canadian Embassy in June, whereby holders of visas issued by Schengen/UK/New Zealand/Australia will also enter the fast-track stream.
Destination Canada-China is currently planning a new mobile/pad-based CSP agent training program using the WeChat platform, which will link with the new corporate Canada Specialist Program due to launch later this year.
Destination Canada-China continues with its current content marketing strategy through CTCTV, partnering with Destination BC, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Travel Alberta,Tourisme Québec, Yukon Tourism, Northwest Territories Tourism and Travel Manitoba. The call to action is through the consumer website and the prime video streaming channel iQiYi, where group and FIT products and itineraries are featured with pricing. The agents participating are: China CYTS Outbound Travel Service, China CYTS FIT Travel Service, China Travel Service Head Office (Beijing) Co., Beijing Ctrip International Travel Service Co., Beijing CAISSA International Travel Service Co., Beijing UTOUR International Travel Service Co., Shanghai CYTS Tours Corporation, Shanghai Ctrip International Travel Service Co., Shanghai Airlines Tours International (Group) Co., JinJiang International Travel Co., Guangdong China Travel Service Co., GZL International Travel Service and China Merchants International Travel Shenzhen Co.
Destination Canada-China will continue to promote ski and winter activities in 2015/2016 through CTCTV, partnering with Destination British Columbia, Travel Alberta, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Northwest Territories Tourism, Yukon Tourism, Travel Manitobaand Tourisme Québec plus with key account tour operators offering winter products. Participating agents are likely to include: China CYTS Outbound Travel Service, China Travel Service Head Office (Beijing) Co., China International Travel Service Head Office, Beijing CAISSA International Travel Service Co., Beijing UTOUR International Travel Service Co., Beijing Lanyahong Travel Club, Shanghai CYTS Tours Corporation, Shanghai Ctrip International Travel Service Co., Shanghai Airlines Tours International (Group) Co., JinJiang International Travel Co., Guangdong Tiantian international Travel Service Co., GZL International Travel Service Ltd and China Merchants International Travel Shenzhen Co.
China Eastern is increasing its Shanghai/Vancouver service to twice daily during the summer, with three flights a week from Kunming. Air China will introduce a three-times-a-week service between Beijing and Montréal starting Sept. 28. China now offers service to Canada from six gateway cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang, Guangzhou and Kunming.
Canada Specialist Program
The Canada Specialist Program (CSP) provides online destination training for all frontline staff in China, plus a range of activities and promotions to keep Canada top of mind.
Participating travel agents are offered a range of information and support, including:
- Online training modules and exams with instant results
- Selling tools, including maps and posters
- Familiarization (FAM) trips
- Tools and training manuals
- Canada Specialist websites and e-newsletters
- Conferences and seminars.
The Canada Specialist Program (CSP) Level 2 in Chinese gives Chinese agents access to key information on tourism products. CSP training and promotions are included in the Destination Canada activities to trade.
Showcase Canada-Asia, Oct. 19-24, Shenyang
This year’s event will take place at the Shangri-La Hotel, Shenyang. Canadian sellers will meet with key buyers from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, plus key FIT agents from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia, for an intense business-to-business marketplace with a proven format of pre-scheduled appointments and networking events.
Fifty-three buyers from China attended Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) in Niagara Falls this past May. RVC 2016 will take place in Montréal, QC, Apr. 24-27.
For details on these events and more, check out our Trade Shows & Events.
Destination Canada-China is currently evaluating the overall key account/preferred agent list and planning a new tiered format for Q3 2015 to reflect the increase in activities of online travel agencies (OTAs) and mobile travel agencies (MTAs) for both group and FIT travel. A new co-op promotional plan is currently being worked on, along with an agents’ incentive program that will be linked to the launch of the new CSP mobile platform.
Destination Canada-China assists Chinese media (including travel, high-end lifestyle, business and social media, plus major websites, newspapers and networks) with story ideas and travel assistance so that they can experience Canadian destinations first-hand. We conduct media FAM tours to various Canadian partner provinces and territories. We also host media lunches, conduct workshops and training in conjunction with partners, collate media clippings, plus offer media monitoring and quarterly e-newsletters.
Destination Canada-China sent press releases in English and simplified Chinese to over 700 media outlets in mainland China and to key target media outlets. The information included:
- 10 things you need to know about hot Canadian arts and cultural events in 2015 (Jan.)
- Destination Canada NanShan Mogul launch (Feb.)
- Yukon Mission 2015 in China (March)
- Actor Godfrey Gao stars in CTCTV 2015 (March)
- Top experiences this summer on CTCTV (May)
- Canada expands the China Transit Program (May)
Nanshan Mogul Event
Destination Canada-China invited more than 70 media to attend the Nanshan Mogul Event on Feb. 14. This annual event, held by Nan Shan Ski Resort, started in 2008. Every year, about 40 amateur skiers join the competition. Nan Shan is the first ski resort in China to build a mogul slop and the only ski resort in Beijing that has beginner, medium and advanced mogul runs. The championship is the only mogul competition in China. This event has positioned Canada as a top, friendly destination to ski and snowboard in winter.
Yukon Mission media event
In 2014, China was Yukon’s fastest-growing traveller market with more the 2,700 visitors (Border Crossing Statistics) and ranks as Yukon’s fourth-largest overseas market. To increase the awareness of Yukon as an ideal travel destination, Destination Canada-China assisted Yukon Tourism in organizing a Yukon trade media event on March 3. Destination Canada-China invited 30 key media to a special event to help them establish good relationships with Yukon’s suppliers.
Destination Canada-China launches CTCTV 2015
To increase the popularity of CTCTV and to offer new, interesting creative and innovative content, Destination Canada-China made some changes to the format and content.
- Godfrey Gao, a well-known Chinese model and actor with a strong Canada connection, is the main face of Canada in 2015.
- There is now a greater use of celebrities, key opinion leaders, paid expert guests and more original filming in Canada.
- This focus is on specific themes relevant to participating provinces.
On March 31, we invited 62 Beijing media and eight out-of-town media to attend the launch event.
Media FAM trips
Destination Canada-China teamed up with Travel Alberta for a summer media group FAM trip. Eight media from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou will spend seven days in Edmonton and Jasper, and will share their adventures in both print and social media.
Destination British Columbia promoted the May 3 Vancouver Marathon to showcase its outdoor experiences. Destination Canada-China sponsored air tickets for this FAM.
Destination Canada-China invited three travel-trade media to attend RVC 2015.
Public Relations activities
Destination Canada-China communicated with and/or pitched feature stories to local and national media to ensure they have all the relevant information in order to maximize coverage.
Traditional media clipping report (January- May):
Total clippings: 744
Total viewership: 128,985,986
Total ad value: CAD$19,661,159
|Inbound travel to Canada from China|
|Overnight trip to Canada (000's)||150.8||158.7||159.5||193.3||236.7||273.3|
|Year to year change||8.5%||5.3%||0.4%||21.2%||22.3%||15.5%|
|Year to year change||0.5%||2.0%||-0.7%||20.8%||29.3%||19.2%|
|Source: International Travel Survey, Statistics Canada.|
- Chinese long-haul outbound travel increased to 15.6 million in 2014, a remarkable 14.1% year-on-year growth. (Source: Tourism Economics)
- Although the Chinese economy slowed to GDP growth of 7.4% in 2014, it continued to outpace other economies. A combination of weaker international demand for goods made in China and domestic policies designed to curb investment cut into growth.
- Overnight arrivals to Canada from China gained significant momentum with the granting of ADS (Approved Destination Status) in June 2010, expanding at an average rate 24% per year to reach 454,000 visitors in 2014.China shifted from Canada’s sixth source of overseas travellers in 2010 to the third in 2014.
- Chinese travellers injected an estimated $920 millionin the Canadian economy in 2014, spending $2,325 per trip and 36 nights in Canada on average.
- Pleasure travel accounted for 55% of all trips to Canada by Chinese travellers in 2014, followed by business (21%), and visiting friends and relatives (15%). China was the largest overseas pleasure travel market for Canada in 2014 with about 250,000 leisure visitors.
Source: Statistics Canada, International Travel Survey, unless otherwise indicated.
China has huge tourism potential for Canada and Destination Canada is committed to succeed in this growing market. Guided by Destination Canada’s corporate strategy, we are moving forward with robust and innovative marketing plans. Our existing strategy in China involves developing and maintaining strong business and personal relationships with the leading wholesale and retail travel agencies in key market regions and cities across China.
Media and PR activities play a crucial role in reaching Chinese consumers, while developing the growing FIT and Meetings, Conventions and Incentive Travel (MC&IT) market are two more key strategies.
Online and mobile media have passed the tipping point and gained dominance over traditional print, which has seen revenues and circulation start to decline, even in the face of a still growing economy.
Television continues to be important, but the kind of impact that can be achieved through that medium is changing as the viewing audience fragments and shifts more and more online.
News sites and micro bloggers continue to grow in importance, and the viral nature of social media gives enterprises unprecedented opportunities to make their mark within the Chinese media space.
Given the endless innovation and increasing rate of change in China, it has never been more important for companies to keep abreast of the latest developments in Chinese media and to leverage the network of a locally based agency or service provider to maximize PR potential.
Group traffic volume continues to grow. Chinese travellers are more affluent, experienced and confident with good English skills; they’re looking for experiences other than standard group products. There has also been growth in the number of FIT (fully independent travellers) or semi-FIT travellers to Canada.
Canada has strong competition from other long-haul destinations, including the US, Australia, the UK and European countries.
Contact our team for more information.