Brand USA both “friend and foe” to Canada

But US and Canada discuss how best to collaborate

Brand USA is both a friend and a foe to Canada, the Canadian Tourism Commission said at the international tourism fair Rendezvous in Vancouver last week.

“The position of their brand is very similar to ours, and we must be vigilant they don’t steal our customers,” warned Rupert Peters, vice president international. But he also said that increased attention on North America as a holiday concept was a benefit to Canada.

Greg Klassen, the Canadian Tourism Commission’s president and interim chief executive, admitted that Brand USA’s marketing efforts around the world were a “double-edge sword” because they posed both a threat and an opportunity to the CTC’s own marketing efforts.

“There is an opportunity for us to use their marketing dollars to help sell Canada as a US add-on,” he said, adding that the CTC was evaluating a dual-nation vacation strategy for emerging markets. “If you can’t beat them, join them. We’re confident that the Canada compares favourably with the US in all aspects,” he said.

“The dual nation idea is more aligned for those markets with limited direct air capacity. […] Our goal is to grow 10-14 night stays, not the short-stay market.”

Royce Chwin, vice president of Travel Alberta, said Brand USA’s efforts had incentivised the regional destination marketing organisations to work more closely together.

“We’re having unprecedented levels of conversations about how we can best collaborate together. We will never have the war chest to compete against the USA but we have strong brand advocates for Canada, and that is how we will punch above our weight.”

TTG Digital

[photo courtesy CNW Group/Canadian Tourism Commission]

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