Media contact: Linda Whitfield, Travel Manitoba
Ph: 204-927-7825; [email protected]
Manitoba’s tourism industry is poised to take advantage of the momentum Manitoba is currently experiencing, said Travel Manitoba President and CEO Colin Ferguson at the organization’s annual general meeting, held today at the Manitoba Museum.
Citing the current excitement around new developments, including those at the Assiniboine Park and Zoo and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, plus the renewed sense of community pride with the return of the Winnipeg Jets and strong attendance at summer festivals, Ferguson noted that now is the time for Manitoba to shine.
“There is so much to be excited about and we want to share that excitement with travellers from around Manitoba, across Canada and the world,” said Ferguson. “it’s Manitoba time, our new creative platform, reinforces this excitement as well as the versatility of Manitoba as a tourism destination.”
While there are still challenges facing the tourism industry, such as declining US visitation, unstable economic conditions, plus this year’s flooding and drought conditions in the province, the industry recorded positive growth in the last fiscal year and is forecast to grow by 4.2% in 2011 according to the Conference Board of Canada. Tourism in Manitoba is a $1.19 billion industry that accounts for 2.83% of Manitoba’s GDP, generating $466 million in export revenues from international and out-of-province markets.
“As tourism rebounded after the recession, Manitoba operators also saw visitors returning – although some have still not returned to the same volume of sales,” said Ferguson.
Building on successes of 2010, including the Manitoba Homecoming initiative, increasing domestic travel will be key to growing tourism in Manitoba, he added. Travel Manitoba is also anticipating long term economic benefits from hosting Rendez-vous Canada 2010, an international tourism marketplace that brought 300 international tourism buyers to Manitoba in May of 2010.
Expanded initiatives in international marketing, media relations, e-marketing and visitor services also contributed to the successes experienced in 2010. Travel Manitoba’s media relations efforts directly influenced $9.2 million worth of travel publicity, new niche websites increased the number of unique visitors seeking information on Manitoba’s tourism products and the organization’s new Visitor Services Network enhanced the availability and quality of information for the travelling public.
Partnerships are a key factor in Travel Manitoba’s success in marketing the province as a quality tourism destination.
“Our industry partners see the value in participating in our marketing and development programs,” said Bob Sparrow, Chair of Travel Manitoba’s Board of Directors. “We are more successful in marketing Manitoba when we work together.”
Industry participation in development initiatives, such as best practice missions, was also strong last year and Travel Manitoba expects to build on those programs as it moves towards supporting experiential tourism development.
Travel Manitoba was pleased to continue its effective partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) through initiatives such as the Signature Experience Collection, which highlights unique Canadian experiences in the CTC’s global marketing.
“Manitoba offers some of Canada’s most distinctive travel experiences,” said Michele McKenzie, President and CEO of the CTC, who along with CTC Board Chair Steve Allan, addressed the audience at today’s meeting. “We are pleased that three Canadian tourism experiences from Manitoba are included in the inaugural Signature Experiences Collection that was launched in July. These experiences will help us to lure more high-spending international travellers to Canada and satisfy their craving for the unique and the exotic. We expect to see more experiences from Manitoba join the Collection in the coming months.”
Three outdoor experiences from Churchill and Riding Mountain National Park were chosen for the inaugural Signature Experiences Collection, while further additions to the program will be made from industry submissions. Travel Manitoba will continue to work with industry and the CTC to support the promotion of Manitoba tourism experiences around the world.
“The Government of Manitoba is proud to support this province’s tourism industry, which is a vital contributor to not only our economic vitality, but to the quality of life for all Manitobans,” said the Honourable Flor Marcelino, Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism. “With exciting new tourism developments and new experiences in the areas of aboriginal tourism, agritourism and ecotourism, we look forward to working with Travel Manitoba to promote everything our province has to offer to visitors from all over the world.”
Travel Manitoba is a Crown Corporation under provincial legislation that leads and stimulates sustainable tourism growth in Manitoba’s $1.19 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 2010-2011 Annual Report, click here.