Mabuhay! Engaging the Filipino Community and Embracing Newcomers to Manitoba

Posted May 22, 2024

How Travel Manitoba, community influencers and apps like Canoo support newcomers getting familiar with “home”.

Newcomers to Manitoba represent about 20 per cent of the population, according to Statistics Canada. Research from the Conference Board of Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship shows that without establishing roots in the community and connecting to the province, newcomers are at a greater risk of relocating elsewhere. Tourism can play a big role in helping newcomers explore their own backyard and to discover more reasons to call Manitoba “home”.

Travel Manitoba retained Probe Research to help facilitate several sessions to learn more about their needs and interests, starting first with members of the Filipino community.

Two focus groups, made up of about 20 participants each, were held in early April. The first meeting was with organizers and influencers within the Filipino community and the second meeting was with newcomers. Ron Cantiveros of the Filipino Journal hosted both sessions, which included presentations from Travel Manitoba and Tourism Winnipeg, break-out sessions and a group discussion facilitated by Probe Research.

“The kids are always asking, ‘what are we gonna do there?’” shared a participant from a facilitated session.

The results included some key findings.

Travel Motivators

Participants clearly stated that family, and children in particular, are important in making choices for a getaway. Whether it’s a short day trip with extended friends and family or a planned group reunion farther away, family time was key. Day trips with fun itineraries and discounts or package deals for larger groups generally appeal to the Filipino community. Exploring Manitoba’s nature and unique encounters ranked high in the group sessions, along with educational experiences.

Barriers to Travel

One of the difficulties of large group travel is the lack of accommodation options or how quickly those book up. Transportation was also identified as a challenge, particularly as long distance trips with a fully-packed vehicle can be unpleasant. Missing amenities like roadside bathroom stops, wifi and stores at campgrounds for those last-minute necessities were flagged as other barriers to family travel.

Opportunity to Reach Newcomers Through Canoo

Canoo is an app that offers newcomers hundreds of free places to visit, events with free or discounted tickets, exclusive deals for activities, volunteer and networking opportunities. Businesses show their support for newcomers by partnering with Canoo and supplying offers for the app and, in turn, benefit from Canoo’s Institute for Canadian Citizenship-backed certification, network of influencers and earned and paid media opportunities. Interested organizations can submit an offer online and join over 1,600 other organizations like the Manitoba Museum, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Mennonite Heritage Village or the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre on the Canoo website.

“Our Opera Access Program makes opera affordable for everyone in Winnipeg, including newcomers to Canada,” said Michael Blais, Director of Operations at the Manitoba Opera. “By partnering with Canoo, Manitoba Opera is not only providing our newest community members with the opportunity to enjoy Winnipeg’s rich opera scene but also building relationships by sharing stories that unite us.”