"It’s the best of the best". That’s how Lonely Planet describes its annual publication, “Best of Travel”. And in 2018, Manitoba proved it was amongst the best of the best, alongside destinations like Normandy, France, Northern Peru and Piedmont, Italy in the list of the Top 10 Regions in the world to visit in 2019.
This prestigious designation from a world-renowned travel media giant drove much of Travel Manitoba’s marketing efforts in 2018/19, leveraging the benefits of incredible reach to a dedicated, passionate global community of travellers. The multi-channel campaign resulted in some record setting results: over 1,700,000 impressions and our most viewed video ever, with over 370,000 views. The positive impact of the designation and the campaign may well be felt for years to come.
As proud as we are of the Lonely Planet recognition, we’re equally proud of the completion and launch of a new Provincial Tourism Strategy, an ambitious plan that will allow all tourism stakeholders to maximize Manitoba’s opportunities as a must-visit four season destination now and in the future. It is a tremendous accomplishment that the Government of Manitoba, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Travel Manitoba were able to come together to build on the momentum occurring in the province. Working in collaboration toward a common tourism vision will allow us to attain uncommon results.
With continued support through Plan 96/4 – the sustainable funding model that dedicates 4% of provincial tourism tax revenues to Travel Manitoba – we were able to continue to partner and invest in innovative marketing programs that brought more revenue, and more visitors, to the province.
We increased brand engagement and traveller advocacy, as the Manitoba, Canada’s Heart…Beats brand continued to engage with travellers and visitors alike. Our brand campaigns garnered even more attention and industry accolades, with local, national and international awards. We witnessed double-digit growth in our blog readership and the audience for our videos grew by almost 30%. Our Facebook audience grew by 12% and our Instagram audience by 23%. Our media relations activities resulted in 346 national and international articles, with a total circulation of over 158 million, with an ad equivalent value of over $7 million.
To reach more potential Canadian visitors, we partnered with leading news and lifestyle magazines to put inspiring content in front of their readers and website visitors, with the potential to reach a total audience of more than 3.2 million.
Once again we “wowed” national and international delegates at industry functions like Rendez-vous Canada, Incentive Travel Exchange and Go Media. We strengthened our presence in international markets with new on-the-ground representation in China and Australia and maintained our strong presence in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.
We worked with over 200 industry partners to expand the reach of the 2018 campaign by securing $1.1 million in investment in our marketing programs and added new partners in our Invest in Tourism program.
The development of new initiatives that will drive tourism growth and serve as catalysts for economic development included advancements in our Place Branding program, the creation of a Francophone and Métis Tourism Strategy and progress in the implementation of the Indigenous Tourism Strategy and Northern Manitoba Tourism strategy. We also saw significant increases in awareness and interest in ice fishing in the northern U.S. and Canadian markets, thanks to aggressive promotion.
We’re proud of our accomplishments this year and the unprecedented recognition that Manitoba’s tourism sector has achieved. Now, with the Provincial Tourism Strategy in place, we have a clear roadmap to capitalize on our wealth of opportunities. Powered by new tourism assets, driven by a successful sustainable funding model and supported by progressive industry partners, Manitoba will show the world why it’s ranked “the best of the best”. Manitoba is where Canada’s heart…beats.