19th Annual Public Meeting: Powering the Visitor Economy

Tofino, BC

"Every dollar possible is spent reaching our target traveller to get them to choose Canada."

On November 20th 2019, Destination Canada held its 19th Annual Public meeting after the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s National Congress in Ottawa.



Our Board Chair, Ben Cowan-Dewar kicked off the Annual Public meeting with an overview of the current health of the Canadian tourism sector. He highlighted tourism as an economic driver and Team Canada’s role in supporting the visitor economy. The first eight months of 2019 have already reached a new peak and 2019 results are looking strong.



Anwar Chaudhry, our Interim President and CEO, introduced our three corporate objectives to frame our story:

  • Increasing demand for Canada through innovative marketing
  • Advancing the commercial competitiveness of the tourism sector
  • Increasing corporate effectiveness and efficiency

Anwar dove into the corporate effectiveness and efficiency objective by addressing our financial and human resource strengths. He emphasized that a point of pride for Destination Canada is that we invest 93% of our budget towards marketing, which is 3% above target. This ensures that funding is invested in the right places and “every dollar possible is spent reaching our target traveller to get them to choose Canada.” Moreover, diversity in our workforce brought an abundance of talents and perspectives that are reflective of the diversity in our target audience.

Vice President of Strategy and Stakeholder Relations, David Robinson, took the stage to discuss advancing the commercial competitiveness of the tourism sector. David pointed to our report, Unlocking the Potential of Canada’s Visitor Economy, which provided us with a foundation of where to focus our resources through a yield, seasonal and regional strategy. Utilizing this strategy means attracting high-spending individuals introducing them to different parts of the country, all-year round.

“The visitor economy is more than just the 21 million international travellers we welcomed in 2018, It’s also how much our visitors spend while in Canada…”

Our North Americana podcast is an example of this strategy translated into our marketing efforts. Hosted by Liz Beatty, the podcast introduces lesser-known Canadian destinations to our American audience. Currently, the podcast has received the highest rate of engagement of any content that we have put out in the market.

Senior Vice President, Marketing Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer, Gloria Loree, explained our final objective of increasing demand for Canada through innovative marketing. “For us, innovative marketing is marketing that helps grow the visitor economy.”

Gloria discussed past, present and future work that demonstrates innovative marketing’s impacts on the growth of the visitor economy. She gave the example of Goblin from the popular South Korean series made by Dragon. 10 of 16 episodes were filmed in Québec City. The series became a major hit and was the most viewed original series in the network’s history. This resulted in 200% more South Korean overnight arrivals in Québec City during April-October of 2017. Spending in the city increased by 246% during the same time frame.

“That’s what we mean by innovative marketing.”

Gloria discussed our Canada. For Glowing Hearts brand and its role in our domestic campaign. The campaign is an invitation to Canadians to discover their own country. Innovation is at the forefront of this campaign using multiple platforms and marketing approaches with a podcast, weekly social activations, and series underway.

The last example is the evolution of our business events strategy. We continue to focus on meeting planners, while placing a bigger emphasis on Canada's strengths aligned with the federal international trade priorities. From coast to coast to coast, we identified cities with the best intellectual capital, resources and technology to highlight their economic strengths. You can learn more in our business events website. This strategy is leading to long-term economic investment and increased government support for events.

As we look back at our successes, the three objectives and our plans for the future, our efforts are, and have always been, centred on powering the visitor economy.


Posted on 2019-11-26

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