Tourism Industry: Now’s the Time to Ramp Back Up

It’s Canada’s high season in tourism; are you profitable? Get up to $100K from the BDC through the Digital Adoption Program with Choice OMG.

If you’re in the tourism industry in Canada, there’s a good chance you’re right in the middle of your high season. Understandably, you’re focused on making this a profitable one, given the recent impacts of the pandemic on tourist spending. (It’s hard to even fathom, but in the first 10 months alone, COVID-19 cost the tourism industry $935B).

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But while you’re busy getting back into the swing of things, we want to make sure you didn’t miss the Government of Canada’s announcement about the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. In an effort to help speed up the recovery of this industry in the aftermath of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the government has committed to supporting growth, investment, and greater stability for Canadian tourism.

This is great news for Canadians, with the tourism industry already expected to contribute $162.2B to the Canadian economy this year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. In addition to already recovering almost all jobs lost to the pandemic, there’s also significant growth forecasted for the next decade, with tourism anticipated to account for $238B of Canada’s GDP by 2033.

Federal Tourism Growth Strategy

This strategy was initially launched to build on the momentum the travel industry enjoyed in 2017 and 2018 but obviously had to evolve in the wake of the pandemic. After a new consultation process, it now focuses on how to support the industry’s recovery. It notes our high vaccination rate and the lifting of travel restrictions and recognizes current opportunities to regain that lost momentum.

There's a distinct focus on growing the industry to new levels. It’s already bouncing back, with international visitation expected to recover by 2026. But at present, the number of non-resident visitors and returning Canadians remains at only 77% of the levels in March 2019, so a renewed focus on this industry will mean regaining this lost ground faster.

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The plan includes a broad range of investments for international festivals, Canadian heritage celebrations, protecting natural wonders, and enhancing opportunities for Indigenous-led Indigenous tourism. But businesses should take note: there’s also a commitment of $108M over three years for a Tourism Growth Program (TGP), including assistance for small- and medium-sized businesses’ tourism projects and events.

Look at Portugal’s growth strategy for an interesting case study on rebuilding. In the decade leading up to the pandemic, it enjoyed significant and steady growth in its tourism sector. In response to COVID-19, it pivoted quickly, shifting its current campaigns to focus on the hope of reopening travel again in the near future. It aimed to give tourists assurances of safety once travel became possible again. Further, it focused on lead nurturing with elements specifically intended to generate trust and security, bolstering consumer confidence. For a destination with tourism comprising 8% of its GDP, this responsiveness paid off. As of January of this year, tourism in Portugal had already recovered, exceeding by 20% levels seen in 2019.

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If you’re a tourism operator or connected to the travel industry in Canada, you’ll want to capitalize on similar opportunities here to benefit from returning and new tourist traffic. Do so by ensuring that your strategies are targeted to an audience that’s weathered considerable anxiety about recent travel.

Get noticed

As the tourism industry heats up once again, it’s essential to stay ahead of your competition. Capture your market share effectively by partnering with a digital advertising agency that will amplify your online presence, and engage with an audience that’s ripe once again to make tourism-related conversions. Analytics demonstrates that a zealous interest in travel has returned, with everything from international to sun destinations getting extraordinary hits, and searches for flights already exceeding 2019 levels, according to Google.

One area of particular interest for industry insiders is the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy’s investments in Canada’s tourism assets, including support to digitize services. Digital adoption enables businesses to integrate and effectively use digital technology that improves operational efficiency, enhances customer experience, and creates new business opportunities.

The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) provides grants for businesses to access digital advisors, providing up to $15K to boost your technology. You’ll also gain further access to 0% loans. By working with a digital advisor like the ones at Choice OMG, your tourism business will benefit from ideas on how to create a better experience for your customers, improve your online systems, and streamline your internal operations.

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Find out more about how we can help you implement a digital business plan for your business by reading this article. We provide expert analysis on advertising forecasts worldwide, positioning you to make informed and cost-efficient decisions about your advertising expenses.

Tourism’s future is bright

Initiatives like the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy and Canada Digital Adoption Plan are helping to boost the tourism industry’s already bright future. Now is the time to put your plan in place to stay competitive and outpace your competition’s growth.

At the World Trade Organization’s Aid for Trade Stocktaking Event in 2021, three key areas were identified for getting back on solid footing. First, there’s a need to rebuild traveler confidence in the industry and the safety of travel in general, post-pandemic. Secondly, we’ll need to understand new market trends and drivers of demand. And finally, the industry will require more resilience and inclusivity in tourism, including a commitment to an emerging focus on increased sustainability.

It’s clear that the same old marketing practices may not be as effective as they were in the past, given the newness of the market, reshaped as it was by pandemic restrictions. For those in the tourism industry, there’s a need to address the dynamic challenges that have come about, with strategies that begin to rebuild consumer loyalty and trust.

It’s a tall order for an industry whose employees are already working around the clock to recover their market share. It makes good business sense to consult with a skilled digital marketing agency with expertise in this area, so you’ll position yourself not only to recover your lost profitability but also to capture your share of this growing market.

How we can help

At Choice OMG, we’ve always been committed to helping small businesses thrive. We consider ourselves the slingshot, launching smaller companies into the stratosphere where larger ones dominate, ensuring that they have the digital support and expert analysis to guide their continued success. Now, we’re ideally positioned to help businesses in the tourism industry recapture their momentum with forward-thinking marketing strategies.

Our digital marketing services can increase your visibility with professional website development, creative social media campaigns, and online advertising with measurable results. You’ll effectively reach a wider audience, engaging them to generate more conversions while building long-term loyalty.

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It’s essential to understand changing travel preferences, particularly in relation to what’s deemed safe or not. A survey by PwC revealed that even while restrictions remained in place, travelers were keen to resume travel as soon as possible, with 90% intending to travel within the first 12 months of eased restrictions. However, feeling that their safety wouldn’t be compromised, particularly if they had children, was of paramount importance. This means that tourism businesses need to focus on rebuilding trust by giving reassurances at every touchpoint.

Our expert analysis and deep understanding of market influences can position your business for success, with a seamless and personalized customer experience that’s responsive to post-pandemic trends. This includes features like an online booking system and mobile optimization, making it easier for travelers to research, plan, and ultimately book their trips with you with confidence. We can also assist you in collecting valuable user-generated content that will become effective and persuasive social proof online.

Tourism businesses need to be leveraging every opportunity to market their services right now. The digital landscape removes geographical barriers, enabling businesses in tourism to expand their reach to international markets.

The announcement by the Government of Canada is a step in the right direction for the tourism industry in this country, but the next step you take is up to you. Connect with us at Choice OMG for expert digital marketing advice that will keep you well ahead of the rest of the pack.