Contact:Linda Whitfield, Travel Manitoba Ph: 204-927-7825; [email protected]
Manitoba’s tourism industry is experiencing growth after two difficult years, said Travel Manitoba’s President and CEO Hubert Mesman at the organization’s fifth annual meeting, held today at the Red River Exhibition Park. Tourism in Manitoba is a $1.1 billion industry that accounts for 2.75% of Manitoba’s GDP, generating $480 million in export revenue. There are over 5,600 tourism businesses in the province and the industry sustains over 17,000 full-time direct tourism jobs.
“The global economic recession and the continuing decline in visitation from the United States had a major impact on Manitoba’s tourism industry,” said Mesman to over 150 members of the tourism industry in attendance. “Fortunately, Manitoba’s tourism operators and attractions are resilient and their perseverance has once again resulted in positive growth.”
Industry partnerships are a key factor in Travel Manitoba’s success in marketing the province as a quality tourism destination. “Participation in our marketing and development programs was at an all time high this past year,” said Paul Robson, Chair of Travel Manitoba’s Board of Directors. “Our Industry Advisory Committees have provided valuable insights into our high volume and high yield marketing plans and tourism operators are responding by investing to expand the reach of the annual campaigns.”
Travel Manitoba aims to increase the number of international visitors with $5 million in support from the federal and provincial governments over the next three years under the Canada Manitoba Economic Partnership Agreement. To date investments have supported expanded e-marketing, media relations and sales initiatives targeting the U.S., Germany, the United Kingdom and China. These efforts are generating new leads for tourism partners.
A number of major events led by Travel Manitoba drove incremental visitation this year. Provincial support of Manitoba Homecoming 2010 celebrations throughout this year, Rendez-vous Canada in Winnipeg, the Memorial Cup in Brandon and the RBC Cup in Dauphin are just a few of the events that stimulated new visitation. Travel Manitoba was also actively involved in partnerships to maximize the benefits of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, supporting Manitoba’s CentrePlace pavilion and hosting a television crew from NBC as it visited Churchill. The resulting profile of Manitoba’s polar bears aired to an estimated 20 million viewers.
In 2009, editorial and broadcast features on Manitoba increased by over 200% with the potential circulation increasing from 121 million in 2008 to 278 million in 2009. Travel Manitoba’s media relations program has been expanded to generate further media exposure in the coming years.
“Many tourism operators were faced with major challenges and we commend them for their continued dedication to the tourism industry which is important to all Manitobans,” said Mesman. “We will continue to work with our Sustainable Tourism Advisory Committee to ensure we deliver programming that supports sustainable tourism development. We are delighted that tourism operators recognize that we must continue to refresh and build new experiences to attract visitors and that participation in Travel Manitoba’s workshops, webinars and best practice missions is strong.”
“We recognize the efforts of Travel Manitoba and Manitoba’s tourism industry during challenging economic times,” said Flor Marcellino, Manitoba Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism. “Tourism is a vital economic contributor and adds to our quality of life by celebrating our values and diversity. The Government of Manitoba continues to support new ventures in Aboriginal Tourism, ecotourism, agritourism, international tourism and other new tourism business opportunities.”
“Working together with government and our tourism partners we are well positioned for further growth,” Robson added. “From the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, to the developments at Assiniboine Park, to the new airport terminal and the Pimachiowin Aki UNESCO World Heritage site, Manitoba will have many more exciting attractions to share with visitors from around the world.”
Travel Manitoba is a Crown Corporation under provincial legislation that leads and stimulates sustainable tourism growth in Manitoba’s $1.1 billion tourism industry. In partnership with the tourism industry, the agency is responsible for tourism marketing, visitor information services, product development, research and public information.
To view a copy of Travel Manitoba’s 2009-2010 Annual Report, visit http://ti.travelmanitoba.com/.