Global Report

Canada is going to start advertising to American tourists again

With a resurgence of U.S. tourists in Canada, the tourism commission is planning an advertising reboot

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta.

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta. (George Rose/Getty)

Canada will resume marketing itself to American tourists, Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, confirmed at a press conference Wednesday in Vancouver. “There’s been a lot of talk about a lack of investment into marketing to the United States. I can tell you that the Canadian Tourism Commission will re-invest in the U.S. market,” he said.

The exact amount the CTC will spend stateside will be contained in the federal budget, Bernier said. The announcement comes on the heels of research indicating that after 13 years of declines, U.S. visitation to Canada is set to rebound this year.

The CTC halted funding for U.S.-targeted marketing in 2012 on the grounds that existing campaigns were ineffective, U.S. visitors to Canada spent less than overseas visitors and the Commission’s limited funds were better allocated elsewhere. Bernier said the decision was reversed following meetings of federal and provincial tourism ministers and industry representatives. “That was a request from the industry,” he said. Bernier also referred to the drop in the Canadian dollar increasing the opportunity to attract more U.S. travellers.

Another factor in the decision was the rebound in the U.S. economy. “The market conditions there have changed dramatically,” said CTC president and chief executive David Goldstein. U.S. outbound travel to all countries jumped nearly 10% in 2014, though Canada was not a major beneficiary. In addition, the requirement for American travellers to carry passports to re-enter the U.S. may no longer be the barrier to cross-border traffic that it used to be, he said. “U.S. passport ownership has doubled since 2010.”

Speaking just for her province, B.C. Minister of State for Tourism Naomi Yamamoto noted that the 3% increase in visits by Americans last year amounted to an additional 100,000 visitors. By comparison, the 29% jump in travel to B.C. from China resulted in only 50,000 additional visitors.