Canada officially launches Connecting America initiative to attract more American visitors

Canada’s Frontier Duty Free Association has passed on news that the Canadian Tourism Ministry announced a $30 million three-year program entitled “Connecting America” – which is a TIAC/CTC initiative to attract more U.S. citizens to Canada. The FDFA supports this initiative and is very pleased with the Government’s announcement. The CTC is Canada’s national tourism marketing organization.

In its formal announcement on May 22, 2015, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canada’s culture and tourism sectors. To this end, the government has earmarked $30 million over three years for a major new tourism campaign entitled Connecting America to attract more American visitors to destinations across Canada.

“This targeted tourism campaign is expected to attract a larger number of American visitors to destinations across Canada. The United States (U.S.) is Canada’s largest inbound tourism market, representing approximately 70% of overnight tourists to Canada. In 2014, 11.5 million overnight tourists from the U.S. came to Canada. With growth from U.S. tourists at 0.3% last year, marketing opportunities exist to raise awareness of Canada’s exciting and authentic tourism experiences,” said the statement.

connecting_america.inddThe Connecting America campaign will be undertaken from 2015 to 2018 and use new technologies and innovative approaches to reach out to U.S. travelers. The initiative will enable the Canadian Tourism Commission to collaborate with partners in the private sector, international travel trade (e.g., travel agents, tour operators) and the provinces and territories to promote Canada as a premier tourism destination, creating exciting new opportunities for the sector.

The government estimates the program will create or maintain approximately 2,900 jobs across Canada.
Federal funding would be matched on a 1.25-to-one basis by provincial and territorial, local and private-sector tourism partners with a view of generating an additional $400 million in incremental tourism revenue from an additional 680,000 visitors over a three-year period.

FDFA Executive Director Laurie Karson reiterates that the Association will continue to support its Road TRIP initiative in the upcoming 2016 Federal Budget. The program—which was not adopted this year, nevertheless has been seen by government officials as a direct complementary initiative to Connecting America since Road TRIP is specifically focusing on road travelers vs. air travel to Canada.