The weak Canadian dollar was not the only incentive for visits from international travellers in 2017. Canada celebrated its 150th birthday with nationwide events, attracting both international and domestic travellers. There was free admission to more than 200 national parks and historic sites across the country, as well as airline and site promotions throughout the year. Montreal, turned 375 and also hosted many events.
Ultra low cost carriers are taking off
WestJet Airlines Ltd reported plans to enter the cheapest end of air travel by launching an ultra low cost carrier modelled on Ryanair. Canada JetLines also had plans to enter the same band. Currently, flights in Canada are some of the most expensive in the world. Having ultra low cost options will stop many Canadians from having to fly to the US to find them.
Canada focuses on future growth
A new tourism campaign was launched with the aim of raising the number of international visitors by 30% by 2021. New Tourism Vision commits the government to tackling 20 priority issues such as carrying out additional marketing, addressing travel issues and supporting Canadian tourism businesses and operators.
- Canada’s primary strengths are its strong brand reputation as a friendly, politically stable and safe country for international visitors as well as its unique natural wilderness experiences.
- Increased federal funding to support Canada’s tourism industry is viewed as another significant strength as it puts tourism in a more competitive position to grow in the long term.
- Weaknesses include the country’s geographical distance from most other countries and the necessity for access by air travel only for all international visitors with the exception of those from the US. Additionally, visa requirements put travellers from several nations off travelling to Canada.
- Regulations resulting in higher than average airline fees and taxation placed on travellers coming to Canada add to the disadvantage of air-only access by acting as a deterrent for cost-conscious travellers.
- The main opportunity for Canada is the weak Canadian dollar, which results in a favourable currency exchange for many international travellers, in particular the US and Europe. This inevitably leads to increased international inbound arrivals and visitor spending within the country.
- Canada’s 150th birthday celebration in 2017 was an opportunity to attract more visitors with events and promotions nationwide.
- Canada’s primary threat is low oil prices, which has a significant impact on overall economic activity and corporate business travel spending within the oil- and gas-rich regions of the country.