Ottawa Tourism eyes Chinese tourists with first-ever delegation visit

china

Representatives from Ottawa Tourism have returned from a week-long, three-city visit to China meant to court the nation’s rising tide of travellers.

The delegation’s goal was to attract Chinese tourism by building relationships with the country’s travel agencies and organizers. The group met with numerous tour operators and more than a hundred clients in the meeting, conference and exhibition space over the course of its trip.

Among the attendees from Ottawa Tourism were representatives from Ottawa’s national museums and the Ottawa-Gatineau Hotel Association.

The visit, the first of its kind by Ottawa Tourism, aimed to capitalize on previously-announced initiatives from the organization. The local agency announced in March that it would offer incentives to tour operators that increase the number of visitors it brings to the nation’s capital year-over-year.

The initiative also coincides with the Canada-China Year of Tourism, a joint program to increase travel between the two nations. Chinese tourists are among the fastest-growing cohort of international visitors to Ottawa and Canada as a whole. Ottawa Tourism estimates that 41,000 Chinese travellers came to the capital last year, up six per cent from 2016.

“It is already a significant market, relatively fast-growing as well, and the amazing thing is the potential that still exists in that market,” Ottawa Tourism president and CEO Michael Crockatt told OBJ a few months ago.

He said in a release on Thursday that the delegation’s positive reception in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai reaffirmed the need to focus on relationships in China’s tourism sector.

“This confirms our strategy to aggressively pursue the Chinese market, and to continue our Chinese market readiness training for Ottawa Tourism member businesses,” he said.

One of the ways Ottawa Tourism is getting local attractions ready for Chinese visitors is a partnership with Motion Pay, a local startup that provides businesses with point-of-sale devices to accept purchases via common Chinese mobile payment platforms.

The Canadian Museum of History is among local members outfitted with Motion Pay’s tech.