Speeches and Presentations

Speaking notes from early November at senate committee

Michele McKenzie
President and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission at the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications

November 2, 2010

Chair, Honourable Senators:

Thank you for inviting the Canadian Tourism Commission to join you here today.

I’d like to offer Senators a few quick points about the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and then turn the microphone back to you for questions.

The CTC is Canada’s national tourism marketing organization.

We are headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., and are active in 12 countries. We are a Crown Corporation that operates within a highly competitive and commercial environment. 

We are results driven:  for every dollar invested in CTC core marketing campaigns in 2009, $101 was generated in tourism export revenues.  New money brought into Canada’s economy as a result of CTC marketing investments.

That’s a return on investment of 101:1.

Leading partnerships, we work with the whole tourism sector to strive to raise its competitiveness and showcase Canada as a destination where travellers can create “extra-ordinary” personal experiences unique in the world.   That’s the Canada tourism brand.

CTC’s leadership and partnership are very much sought after in international markets where the Canada tourism brand holds the greatest impact.

Our vision is to inspire the world to explore Canada. CTC, our partners and industry watchers agree….that sustainability of Canada’s tourism industry requires an increasing number of international travellers.

CTC’s third-party-administered advertising tracking and conversion studies,revealed that our measured campaigns in 2009 had the following attributable results:
Generated an estimated $1.66 billion in tourism revenue for Canada’s economy;
Contributed to the maintenance and/or creation of an estimated 15,284 jobs for the Canadian tourism industry.

CTC’s 2011-2015 objectives are to:
Increase demand for Canada’s visitor economy
Generate wealth for Canadians by focusing on both short-term and long-term potential for maximizing return on investment as markets mature and evolve.
Engage in effective tourism marketing, promotions and market development activities supported by market research as we aim to support the achievement of Canada’s national tourism revenue goal of $100 billion by 2015.

Focus on markets where Canada’s tourism brand leads and yields the highest return on investment
Concentrate on those geographic markets or consumer market segments where marketing at the national level (Canada’s tourism brand) leads to the highest potential for return on investment.
Convert high-yield customers by investing in appropriate communication channels based on insights from customer segmentation research and the path-to-purchase model.

Since the 2007 launch of Canada’s revitalized tourism brand “Canada. Keep exploring,” we have worked to build a bridge between the world’s ‘nature-based’  perceptions of Canada and the need to present more diverse and real Canadian travel experiences in a personal, emotional, relevant and interactive way.  We want to prove to prospective travellers that experiences in Canada will enrich their lives. 

Our success in branding Canada has been cited as one of the main reasons that Canada has climbed FutureBrand’s Country Brand Index from 12th place in 2006, to 6th place in 2007, and now held 2nd place for the last two years.

The CTC achieved significant success during the first two phases of our 2010 Winter Games Strategy (Phase 1 – Brand Building Before The Games; Phase 2 – Media Relations and Web Content During The Games).  In many cases, our efforts far exceeded the initial targets set out in the 2007 Treasury Board submission. 

We are now in the final phase (Harvesting the Afterglow) – converting travel intentions into actual bookings – all in support of the ultimate goal of increasing export tourism revenue for Canada.

As mentioned earlier, CTC’s strategic focus is toward markets that generate the best return on investment and those are the high-yield air travellers.

In 2006, Canada implemented the existing international air policy known as “Blue Skies”. The tone and spirit of the Blue Skies principles reflect a progressive and systematic approach to air bilateral negotiations.

While CTC cannot address issues that fall under the heading of government policy, we can certainly provide you with our insights regarding air travel and tourism opportunities for Canada.

I’m very pleased that your committee is examining issues that have an impact on travel to Canada; emerging issues around the airline industry should be turned into opportunities for the benefit of the tourism sector.

CTC can do a great job of selling Canada as a tourism destination and grabbing the attention of those high-yield air travellers, but without direct air access, welose sales, we lose potential for growth  -  we lose against the competition.

And while progress is being made, there is considerable untapped opportunity.

We certainly encourage new agreements with priority countries that have demonstrated potential for tourism.

Honourable Senators, in the interest of your time and the important work of this committee I would be pleased to answer your questions.