It is clear that increased tourism funding will have a significant impact on the amount of money spent by visitors to Manitoba over the next five years. Travel Manitoba is projecting that with the implementation of the Plan 96/4 sustainable funding model, the tourism industry will grow to a $2.1 billion industry by 2020, an increase of $300 million in annual tourism spending as compared to 2016 levels. And we are confident we will get there.
From the outset, Travel Manitoba has stated that 100% of the incremental investment from Plan 96/4 will go directly into marketing, increasing our effectiveness and competitiveness. Here are Travel Manitoba’s preliminary recommendations for our priorities for this increased investment.
- Expand current markets (Manitoba, southern Alberta, north western Ontario) to include Toronto, and Quebec.
- Engage through consumer campaigns, travel trade, and domestic media in Media Tour Program.
- Take advantage of exchange rate and expand in near markets of Minnesota, North Dakota and Illinois and long haul market of California.
- Continue partnership with Destination Canada (formerly Canadian Tourism Commission) through their through their “Connecting to America” campaign, inviting US travellers to “Look Up” and make Canada their next travel destination.
- 2016 program to feature summer and winter Arctic safari experiences in high potential California cities and angling
- Engage key social media influencers in the US to visit Manitoba for specific experiences.
- Pursuing other options including:
- Media blitz in Minneapolis
- Video advertising on United Airlines
- Targeting members of key associations including American Associations of Retired Person, university and college alumnae
- Partner with Destination Canada in consumer marketing and to build relationships with travel trade and media through hosting FAM trips.
Cooperative Marketing Program
- Recognizing the marketing efforts and limited budgets of Manitoba’s Regional Tourism Associations and Destination Marketing Organizations, the recommendation is to dedicate $250,000 to invest in innovative proposals to partner with those organizations.
Visitor Information Services
- Recommending enhancements to our satellite visitor information centres in Emerson, the Whiteshell, and Kirkella with similar technologically advanced tools that are found at our centre at The Forks.
- Offer local partnership opportunities to area operators.
- Create opportunities for industry to use our visitor centres to showcase their products and experiences, through morning television programming, live demonstrations, commercial or video broadcasting, or profiling “Top 10” lists from our Regional Tourism Associations.
- Develop ways to reach and connect with our audience, including an on-line chat, a Heart Wall app, geo-fencing and a mobile Visitor Information Centre program.
Indigenous and Francophone Tourism
- Create marketing assets to market Indigenous tourism experiences through video, print, and on-line.
- Enhance awareness of the potential of tourism within the Indigenous community and within the domestic and international tourism industry.
- Collaborate with CDEM, Tourism Riel, Métis stakeholders and the Tourism Secretariat to develop the Francophone and Métis tourism experience.
- Create marketing assets to promote our unique Francophone and Métis historical story to Quebec and French-speaking international markets.
One Million Ambassadors
- Develop a strategy to make residents of Manitoba ambassadors for tourism, to help “change the channel” on how Manitobans and Manitoba media talk about ourselves, focusing on the positive instead of the negative.
- Tap into the valuable source of information that Manitoban travelers present to visitors who trust personal recommendations and local insights to inform and influence their trip planning.
- Use the power of social media and peer to peer recommendations to share why Manitoba a great place to live – and to visit.
- Build on the great group of online ambassadors who are using the ExploreMB hashtag.
Please watch for more information on these and other proposed marketing programs and strategies for 2016 and beyond in future issues of Travel Currents.