International tourism industry representatives experienced the momentum of Manitoba's tourism industry at this year's Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) in Vancouver. From May 27-30, the business to business marketplace brought together over 1,600 Canadian tourism sellers and international buyers from 28 markets - breaking attendance records for the annual event.
Under the impressive new Canada's Heart...Beats banner, Manitoba had 10 tourism operators take part in the one-on-one appointments, including first time attendees - the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Assiniboine Park Conservancy.
"As a new attraction here in Manitoba, we firmly believed that attending RVC would be a fabulous opportunity to showcase our offering to the world and build on the momentum that currently exists within the province," said Jacques Lavergne, the Director of Revenues and Visitor Services for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Also experiencing that momentum is Assiniboine Park Conservancy, with the opening of its new Journey to Churchill Arctic exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.
"[RVC] provides a good opportunity to target tourism organizations world-wide at an acceptable cost," said Lorne Perrin, Assiniboine Park Conservancy's Vice President of Park Services. "We viewed our first year of attendance to be more of awareness as we build momentum in the future years."
Repeat attendee at RVC, Doreen Booth, Sales and Guest Relations with Churchill Wild says returning to the marketplace is important.
"[RVC] gives us the biggest access to long haul markets all under one roof without the investment of having to go to each country. It's also an opportunity to meet face to face with partners you have dealt with over the years. We are a small company with limited funds for travel and marketing so this conference helps with access."
Doreen also added that more and more businesses are familiar Manitoba and the products it offers, signalling that Manitoba's momentum is being noticed in the travel trade industry. And even Manitoba sellers, including Lorne from Assiniboine Park Conservancy, see Manitoba's tourism growth as a reason to attend RVC.
"Our participation assists other Manitoba firms who are making up the Manitoba section at this marketplace. This presents to the tourism buyers a stronger visible presence and gives them confidence that Manitoba has something to offer."
Added Jacques, "Equally important as the business side, RVC provided us with great opportunities to meet and connect with travel partners from across Canada to discuss industry and trends."
Travel Manitoba displayed the new Canada's Heart...Beats brand for the first time at an international tourism marketplace. The impressive 10 foot displays, as well as inviting red couches from where buyers could watch Manitoba videos, garnered compliments from RVC's hosts - the Canadian Tourism Commission and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada as well as our neighbours - Tourism Saskatchewan.
Next year's RVC takes place in Niagara Fall, ON May 26-29. For more information on the benefits of attending RVC, contact Dené Sinclair, Travel Manitoba's Manager of Global Travel Trade Relations.