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Rolling out the welcome mat

Published: 07/18/2014
TC_TR_APC-CMHR

As the industry gathered for the June 19 Tourism Rally, the clock was counting down toward the opening of two eagerly awaited new attractions – the Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).

Rally attendees were given a sneak peak of what’s in store by two key figures in the promotion of these new projects – Lorne Perrin, Vice President of Visitor Services and Earned Revenue for Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC), and Angela Cassie, Director of Communications and External Relations for CMHR.

Lorne and Angela said both organizations are planning sustained marketing campaigns to capitalize on the grand-opening buzz. They are looking forward to the GoMedia Marketplace in Winnipeg this August, which will be perfectly timed to showcase the new attractions to hundreds of travel media from around the world.

For both attractions, education and youth programs are an important means of drawing traffic. Journey to Churchill is collaborating with the Manitoba Museum as well as Dr. David Barber, the Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science at the University of Manitoba.

To manage demand, CMHR intends to build its educations programs gradually over time. One of its challenges is to deal with possible perceptions that the museum is an adults-only facility, Angela said. With this in mind, the museum is developing content and activities specifically designed for children as young as 5 or 6. As a member of the Canadian Tourism Commission’s Youth Advisory Committee, Angela will also promote Winnipeg and its new attractions as must-see stops for youth embarking on cross-country explorations of Canada.

Beyond their educational value, both attractions are already becoming high-demand venues for organizations seeking unusual settings for their events. For example, CMHR hosted the Chairman’s Reception opening the Junos, and will be hosting exclusive private tours during the upcoming conference of the International Association of Women in Police. The conference will also feature a hospitality night at the Journey to Churchill exhibit and optional tours to Churchill.

Meanwhile, the arts community is adding to the celebrations through their own programming. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Manitoba Opera are all planning human-rights-themed performances during the coming season.

One business capitalizing on these new opportunities is Delta Winnipeg. The hotel is offering a special family package featuring the Journey to Churchill experience, and is now developing a CMHR package. The Delta also promotes the two attractions as unique new venues for opening and closing receptions when making pitches for conference business.

“They definitely put Winnipeg on the map as having world-class attractions,” said Jordan Lanthier, Director of Sales and Marketing. “With the Convention Centre expansion on the way, it’s like a trifecta of features for attracting conference business.”

Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, Senior Vice President of Tourism Winnipeg, said the impact of these new attractions will soon ripple throughout the city and province.

“Visitors will want to do that hub-and-spoke exploration,” she said. “These attractions will get their attention, and then they’ll look at what else is here to be experienced.”
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