Competing with a Strong Brand - Canadian Tourism Commission 2008 Annual Report

    VANCOUVER, May 7 /CNW/ - Documenting a year that saw Canada's tourism
brand win international kudos, Minister of Industry, the Honourable Tony
Clement yesterday tabled the 2008 Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) Annual
Report in Parliament.
    Over the last five years the Canadian tourism sector outperformed the
overall Canadian economy. In fact tourism activity in Canada represents 2% of
Canada's overall GDP, making tourism a significant economic sector in Canada
with a GDP equivalent to agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting combined.
In 2008, tourism's contribution to Canadian GDP reached $30.7 billion, up 7.3%
over 2007. Total tourism revenue reached $74.9 billion in 2008, up 5.8%, while
all governments' revenue generated by tourism reached $22.2 billion, up 5.7%.
    While the Canadian tourism industry is struggling in the face of fierce
international competition from up and coming destinations, CTC has recognized
the challenge and has worked aggressively to reposition its tourism Brand
internationally. That Brand has now gained traction.

    2008 Highlights

    -  In just two years, Canada jumped from the world's 12th most respected
       country brand to No. 2 spot according to FutureBrand's Country Brand
       Index for 2008;

    -  The influential Lonely Planet guide book publisher named Canada one of
       the Top 10 Countries to visit for 2009;

    -  A Brand Toolkit spelled out the essence of Canada's tourism brand with
       ready-to-use graphics, photos and guidelines that make it easy for
       users to unite behind one consistent, signature voice;

    -  An Experiences Toolkit was launched to help small and medium-sized
       tourism businesses market their products as extraordinary experiences
       instead of commodities link;

    -  An innovative global marketing strategy used social media for the
       CTC's first global TV and internet campaign.

    Said CTC President and CEO Michele McKenzie, "Despite the challenges
faced by the global economy and the highly competitive market for tourism
dollars, significant brand recognition for Canada during 2008 is proof that
the "Canada. Keep exploring" brand is sound, solid and working."

    Balanced Scorecard: return on investment

    The CTC adopted the Balanced Scorecard in 2008 as a performance
measurement framework and identified three metrics that are critical to
growing tourism export revenues for Canada. In addition to achieving awareness
of Canada as a tourism destination and strong participation in partnered
programs, the CTC's marketing strategy is fully focused on conversion -
compelling the customer to commit and book the trip. The success of these
efforts is measured for each program as return on investment.


    The CTC is founded on the principle of partnerships between the public
sector and private industry. By leveraging contributions from partners that
match its own funding, the Commission is able to achieve the maximum return on
investment for its tourism marketing initiatives. In 2008, partnership
contributions totalled $95.8 million, resulting in an overall 1.2:1.0 ratio of
partner contributions to its annual appropriation.

    2010 Winter Games

    Commenting on the CTC's key priority to leverage the 2010 Winter Games,
McKenzie noted, "We know that the Canadian tourism industry will be one of the
greatest beneficiaries of the Games. We're investing $26 million allocated by
the federal government in a strategy to make the most of the international
media exposure and create long-term, increased global awareness of Canada that
will drive tourism and increase export dollars before and long after the

    During the year, the CTC and its partners launched a number of
2010-related initiatives, including:

    -  A library of high-definition assets produced in partnership with
       Broadcasters with compelling images from across the country;

    -  First-ever international appearance of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic
       Winter Games Mascots in Asia;

    -  Welcome to Canada, created in anticipation of the 2010 Winter Games,
       is the result of a new partnership between the Canada Border Services
       Agency and the CTC. Together, the two organizations have made arriving
       at key international ports of entry a welcoming experience, giving
       travellers a sneak peak at some of the extraordinary experiences they
       can enjoy here;

    -  A partnership with the Four Host First Nations to market Aboriginal
       tourism before, during and after the 2010 Winter Games.

    Official Languages

    The CTC ranked first of all 38 institutions assessed as part of the
2007-2008 Report Card exercise for the Office of the Commissioner of Official
Languages. As one of only three institutions to obtain an overall rating of
"A", the CTC is committed to both official languages having equality of status
and equal rights and privileges within the Commission.

    Opportunities for 2009

    Looking ahead, McKenzie said that the CTC will focus on inspiring
Canadians to travel within Canada and entry into the new, high-growth emerging
markets of India and Brazil, supported by the federal government's economic
stimulus funding. "Canada's future competitiveness depends on growth from
international markets, and the investment by the federal government recognizes
that further expansion of Canada's Brand can increase tourism export revenues
at home." As well, CTC recognizes the importance of priority markets such as
the United States and will be doing even more to inspire our American
neighbours to rediscover Canada.
    In the interest of protecting the environment, please visit our website
to read the full report and bookmark us for future reference.

    About the CTC

    The CTC is Canada's national tourism marketing organization. Our vision
is inspiring the world to explore Canada. With our partners in the tourism
industry and the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories, we
advertise and market Canada in 12 countries around the world, conduct industry
research and studies, and promote product and industry development. For weekly
updates on CTC initiatives, subscribe to CTC News, available through RSS feeds
and by e-mail.

For further information:

For further information: Margaret Nevin, Canadian Tourism
Commission/Commission canadienne du tourisme, Tel/Tél (604) 638-8406,
Fax/Téléc (604) 638-8438,

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