Canada needs to double down on attracting tourists from the U.S.: Buckley

Mark Brownlee
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Canada’s tourism community should get back to pouring resources into wooing visitors from the United States, the head of the body charged with marketing Ottawa to tourists said Friday.

Ottawa Tourism president and CEO, Noel Buckley. (Etienne Ranger)

Ottawa Tourism President and CEO Noel Buckley said, in a speech to the local business community, that Canada shouldn’t accept that issues such as a tighter border and the high value of the dollar make investing advertising dollars in the United States a losing proposition.

He said that national tourism bodies largely bailed on trying to promote south of the border in the past decade.

However he pointed out that similar issues with other states – he cited countries such as France, Australia, Thailand and Turkey – haven’t stopped U.S. residents from visiting there.

“They’re increasing their numbers to every one of those countries, but they’re not increasing their numbers to Canada,” said Mr. Buckley. “We gave up on that market too easily.”

He said that the number of tourists to Canada are increasing. However that’s largely taking place because Canadians are travelling more within their own country.

This is great, he said, but not as lucrative as attracting visitors from other countries.

The poor showing in the United States has been one of the main reasons why the number of international travellers to Canada has decreased during the past few years, he said.

That’s why he’s calling on bodies such as the Canadian Tourism Commission to pick up the challenge of bringing visitors across the 49th parallel.

“Our national marketing agency needs to take an active role and Ottawa Tourism will partner with them,” he said. “It’s a very important source market.”

Mr. Buckley spoke Friday at Eggs ‘n Icons breakfast series, which is co-hosted by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and OBJ.

Organizations: Canadian Tourism Commission, Ottawa Tourism, Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and OBJ

Geographic location: Canada, United States, Ottawa France Australia Thailand Turkey

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