It looks like Canada is about to become an approved travel destination for China. I am sure all of you in tourism have heard the news. I am sure many of you are excited. I am a wait and see guy. But one thing I do know is that the government is patting itself on the back again. It has been tooting its own horn about this for some time now all over the media.
China as an approved destination is good news for Canada Tourism. It opens up a brand new market. It invites the rich people of a country with a terrible human rights record to travel in our country. Hey it even gives our tourism associations somewhere to spend our tax dollars frivolously. There is allot to celebrate.
More importantly the addition of China to our traveler pool increases the revenues for our hard working front line tourism businesses. Rewarding our front line tourism businesses should always be our focus not lining our government pockets… wink wink BC Tourism.
The only concern I have (yes there is always a concern) is if we, the tourism industry, have learned from our past mistakes. Huh.. you say, which mistake. Here is what I mean. In the past, our tourism bodies, in their wisdom have put all our eggs in one basket when it comes to marketing tourism… and there is never a solid back up plan. Not long ago every effort of marketing tourism was focused on the USA. The US tourism market dried up and we the front line tourism businesses were left holding the basket.
What our so called leaders in Tourism British Columbia did was spend the majority of our $62 Million dollar advertising budget on one country – the US. Not a single back up plan was put in place in case the US market dried up? Well.. it did dry up and tourism visits from the US sank. Businesses who followed the lead of the government and put all their efforts into the US travel markets started to close shop.
Like we say here at EH Tourism over and over again.. too many people in tourism follow the so called self-proclaimed leaders blindly. Do your own research too!
When the US tourism market went sour a traveler void was created. There was a big drop off in visitors arriving from the US and no other tourism market was developed to take up the slack. And.. then the economic meltdown hit well that basically killed any chance of reviving that US tourist market for a long time. So now what?
Only when times got tough for tourism did our government associations began to scramble. All of a sudden we saw tourism Canada marketing itself to Canada. Look at all the tourism commercials this year. What a novel idea. Get Canadians to spend more time and money in discovering their own country.
So now China comes along. Hmmm… good and scary. The big question is, ” Are we going to continue our tourism marketing mistakes?” Are we going to spread out the marketing dollars this time? What is the back up plan? What happens if China tourism goes sour? China does have allot on its shoulders right now – like carrying the economy too. We need to stop marketing touirsm to countries one by one and begin to market tourism unilaterally.