The reports are starting to roll in on Canadian Tourism. The awards are being handed to the industry elite. It is that time of year. A time to celebrate another year of tourism. I am still trying to figure out what they are celebrating about?

I am more interested in knowing what is tourism doing for the industry this year and have they learned anything from the previous years. It should be a good laugh.

The reports for tourism are as expected. Tourism is making a slow and cautious rebound thanks to Canadians traveling in Canada. It is the only growth tourism market in 2009. All other markets are down. According to a CBC article international travelers fell by 2.4% in the 3rd quarter of 2009 and spending was down 15.4% .

According to the same report the United States was down 1.7% during the 3rd quarter of 2009 and the number of same day travelers fell 8.6%. All of you who read our blog blurbs regularly, will recall, we have mentioned that the same day traveler market was going to be hit the hardest in 2009. We were right!

In general our traditional tourism markets are drying up because we have been marketing to so few segments of tourism for so long. For years the industry has been fortunate enough to operate in a robust market. A market of spenders and not savers. It is not hard to excel in a good market. But when things go bad, and markets fall, the tourism industry played the blame game and pointed fingers at the economy. Finger pointing is popular with bureaucrats.

In many ways the poor numbers of Canadian tourism was due more to poor planning and foresight by our industry elite. By poor planning we mean putting all our tourism eggs in one big USA basket. So when the USA economy broke down it played out like a game of dominoes around the world. Everything USA crashed.

What if we grew other tourism markets when times were rich and robust – starting say 8 years ago? What if we marketed proportionally to Germany, the European Union, Australia and other countries. What if we marketed Canada to Canadians long before the economic slowdown. Allot of what ifs.

One has to hope the tourism industry has learned from their mistakes. Unfortunately it does not look like the tourism industry has learned a thing.  China is the new USA and we are putting all our tourism eggs in one big China basket. Now, what if China crashes?

So once again congratulations to all the elite associations, their inner circles and their award winners.  Does it mean much.. not really,  as it is more of a popularity contest.  The Aerie won awards but it closed down due to poor management. It did not win the good management award I guess.

To all in tourism at the ground level who work hard we wish you well.  You are the engine that turns the industry.

Be well, Be active eh.

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