Showcase Canada-AsiaL-R: Colin Ferguson, Travel Manitoba; His Honour Philip Lee; Ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques; Derek Galpin, Director CTC China

For the first time in three years, Travel Manitoba returned to China's tourism marketplace at Showcase Canada-Asia, October 19-24. The annual marketplace hosted by the Canadian Tourism Commission pairs Canadian tourism sellers with Asian tourism buyers for four days of prescheduled one-on-one appointments.

This year's event was held in Shenyang, China and featured about 120 buyers from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia. Travel Manitoba President and CEO Colin Ferguson and Manager, Global Travel Trade Relations Dené Sinclair held 95 appointments, sharing information on Manitoba's iconic experiences.

"The primary benefit of the CTC Showcase Canada-Asia is to expose Manitoba's unique products to Asian markets representing many millions of people," said Colin. "The more exposure the greater likelihood of attracting more customers to Winnipeg and Manitoba. I had the pleasure of attending many of the face to face meetings with Asian buyers and without question, there is significant interest in our beluga whale and polar bear products, signalling a brighter future for the industry."

The marketplace buyers have a fairly high knowledge of the polar bear and beluga whale experiences, as Frontiers North Adventures has been attending Showcase Canada-Asia regularly for the last number of years. This allowed Travel Manitoba to touch on other experiences, such as providing more information on the Winnipeg experience and travel opportunities in other seasons.

Travel Manitoba also hosted a luncheon during the marketplace on October 23, where Lieutenant Governor The Honourable Philip Lee and Canada's Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques ddressed the crowd before Colin Ferguson introduced Travel Manitoba's 30-second commercials. Media were also invited to the luncheon and had the opportunity for a question and answer period with the speakers.

China is the world's fastest growing source of outbound tourists - expected to reach over 100 million outbound tourists by 2020, according to the World Tourism Organization.  There were over 273,000 trips by Chinese tourists to Canada in 2012, and Manitoba welcomed about 3,000 of those travellers who spent almost $4.5 million. While the current number of Chinese visitors to Manitoba is relatively small, the potential to grow that number is huge.

"It is our plan to continue our presence in this market, building relationships while promoting Manitoba's unique experiences," added Colin.

For more information on Travel Manitoba's activities in China, contact Dené Sinclair, Manager, Global Travel Trade Relations.