World Travel Market, London, UK, November 7-9, 2016
The Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership recently participated in the World Travel Market (WTM) London, a vibrant business-to-business event presenting destinations and industry sectors to UK and international travel professionals. WTM provides a unique opportunity for the global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business. 51,500 travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press attended the event in November 2016.
The Atlantic Canada team included Cindy Creamer Rouse and Lisa Gagnon-Norris, New Brunswick; Charlotte Jewczyk, Newfoundland & Labrador; Peter Johnson, Nova Scotia; Craig Sulis, Prince Edward Island; Kelley Keefe, ACTP; Sophie Kelk and Rebecca Peters, Brighter Group; Laura Barry Walbourne, Western NL DMO; Jeannette Yetman, Destination St. John’s; and Ed English, Linkum Tours, NL.
During the three-day conference, the team met with twenty-five UK travel trade operators, one trade media publication, two consumer media publications, WestJet, and Air Canada. The Brighter Group also met with media on ACTP’s behalf, and attended media events held in conjunction with the conference. Productive Destination Canada UK and Brighter Group meetings also took place during the week. On Monday and Tuesday, Destination Canada hosted a social hour on the Canada stand, providing another opportunity to network with media, travel trade, and Canadian colleagues. Follow-up with operators and journalists is underway.
Key takeaways from the show:
- Met with some operators who are interested in improving or expanding Atlantic Canada product, including Abercrombie & Kent, Canadian Sky, Hayes & Jarvis, HF Holidays, Magnetic North Travel, My Canada Trips, Titan Travel, Travelbag, Travel 2, Travelsphere, and Saga.
- Discussed potential joint marketing activities for 2017 with key operators and results from 2016 partnerships.
- Most operators reported very strong Atlantic Canada sales, up 8% or more over 2015. The value of UK pound against the Canadian dollar compared to the US dollar, perception as a safe destination, and increased direct air access were cited as contributing factors. Three partner operators reported a decrease in Atlantic Canada sales compared to 2015 and two were flat.
- Although Brexit and its travel implications continue to be top-of-mind for UK operators, most agree that Canada is well-positioned for a strong 2017 due to factors noted above. Travel continues to be a top priority for Brits, and early 2017 sales to Canada are positive.
- In 2017, Air Canada will continue direct service to both Halifax, NS and St. John’s, NL from London Heathrow. WestJet will also continue direct service from Glasgow to Halifax, Dublin to St. John’s, and London Gatwick to St. John’s.
- Destination Canada reports a record high in visitation to Canada from overseas markets, with three million visitors from DC’s eleven markets, plus over eleven million from the United States as of September 2016. United Kingdom visitation is up 15.7% YOY compared to September 2015, and United States visitation is up 9.7% YOY as of September.
- Lonely Planet has recently named Canada as the top destination to visit in 2017. This is a tremendous accolade for the Canadian tourism industry and provides a unique opportunity to showcase our country on its 150th birthday from coast to coast to coast.
ACTP’s UK travel trade program also includes marketing partnerships with top UK tour operators to promote the region to the valuable UK market, in-market tradeshows and events, online and in-person training initiatives and advertisements in key trade publications.