With more than 12.2 million crossing the border in the first seven months of the year, “Canadian travel to the US is coming back strong,” Brand USA’s Staci Mellman told attendees at the recent 15th annual Discover America Day – Canada media event in Toronto. “Woo hoo!” she added with as much eloquence as the term can allow.
The number represents a 5% increase over the same period pre-pandemic, said BUSA’s Sr. VP of integrated marketing, notably pointing out that air travel to the US is up 32% over 2019, and correspondingly drive traffic down 14%.
That all adds up to a forecasted 92% return in visitations to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 (with air capacity expected to reach 89% of those levels this year), with 2024 expected to be the year those numbers are finally exceeded.
Mellman noted that Canada is the largest international tourism market for the US, providing a third of all visitors to the country, adding, “So from the US perspective, Canada is incredibly important to us.”
As for Canada, 58% of all out-bound travellers head to the US, so the reverse is equally true.
With this in mind, Brand USA, the US’s destination marketing organization, is undertaking a number of initiatives with the trade in Canada.
Among them is the presence of a dedicated Brand USA representative – Casey Canevari – for the Canadian market, along with other staff who work with the market.
There are also road shows, agent training and webinars, co-op initiatives, partnerships with tour operators, ACTA, and agencies (including ACTA, Ensemble, Virtuoso, Voyages en Direct), “fun” in-market events, such as cocktail making and concerts, and FAMs, with the next slate of six trips for 60 agents set to take place next April, as well as other. The incentive period for the FAMS, with Air Canada, in effect through Dec. 4.
A 2024 sales mission is planned for Toronto, Montreal and possibly Calgary in June.
Meanwhile, consumers will soon see a new media campaign, dubbed ‘Experience It All’, and can always tune into the excellent – and inspirational – GoUSA TV.
“We do not,” says Mellman, “take our proximity to Canada for granted.”
First published at Travel Industry Today