Showcase Canada Asia Summary Shenyang, China October 19 to 24, 2014

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1 Showcase Canada Asia Summary Shenyang, China October 19 to 24, Background Keith Henry CEO of AtBC and Dana Schoahs Manager, Marketing and Market Development, just returned from AtBC s second tradeshow attendance in the Chinese market. After much planning and considerations, AtBC identified China as an important market that should be developed from an Aboriginal tourism perspective, as the interest in travel to Canada and British Columbia grows. Being part of the market development in the early stages enables AtBC to educate the marketplace on Aboriginal tourism experiences in British Columbia and Canada. AtBC has planned on a three year commitment to actively pursue this marketplace through sales missions and relationship building with receptive tour operators servicing the Chinese market; as well as tour providers, travel agencies and wholesalers in China. From 2002 to 2011, Chinese travel to Canada grew 150 per cent from 95,000 to 237,000 overnight arrivals and in 2010 the Chinese government granted Canada Approved Destination Status (ADS). Chinese travellers are showing more interest in Canada (the CTC forecasts a steady increase in overnight arrivals in the coming years), and knowledge of Canada s travel experiences continues to grow and is linked to the increase in the independent travel segment (FIT), as well as luxury travellers which is a market AtBC is specifically targeting. Showcase Canada Asia was the perfect tradeshow for developing awareness and promoting Aboriginal travel experiences in British Columbia. 1 P age Showcase Canada Asia October 2014

2 Showcase Canada Asia is one of CTC s top international marketplaces outside Canada. The Showcase provides Canadian industry sellers with an opportunity to learn about the Asian travel market, while sealing deals and networking. Alongside the buyers from mainland China and South Korea travel trade from Hong Kong and Taiwan, key travel agents from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines all attended Showcase this year. The Showcase opened with market briefings from CTC reps before it moved on to intense pre scheduled meetings. 2. Meeting Highlights Canada and British Columbia are on the radar of many Chinese tour operators / agencies and the need to offer unique experiences to their clients was evident throughout the discussions. However, the current awareness of Aboriginal / Indigenous tourism is somewhat low. The Chinese marketplace is changing fast, and with that, Aboriginal tourism has a great opportunity to educate the marketplace to secure bookings for the near future. AtBC s team met with 90 tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents from China (majority), Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and Philippines. Most of the travel trade we met needed to be educated on Aboriginal tourism and what it means for their visitors to experience an Aboriginal cultural component as part of their trip. An estimated 10 per cent had somewhat of an understanding of Aboriginal tourism mainly related to other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, or because they had been to Canada on a familiarization tour and experienced Aboriginal tourism first hand. In addition to educating the travel trade on Aboriginal tourism in Canada and British Columbia, AtBC s team introduced its three packages developed specifically for the Chinese market. The packages highlight iconic experiences that would appeal to the affluent Chinese traveller looking for unique and once in a lifetime experiences. Other tools used in our sales pitch included AtBC s Aboriginal Experiences guide and map, as well as our booklet highlighting AtBC s exportready Stakeholders. Visa 60 per cent of leisure travel and all incentive applications go through the CTC/Embassy Visa fast track process. 100 per cent of applicants for Canadian Visas now automatically receive a multiple entry visa valid for 10 years or life of passport. This invites the Chinese traveller to visit again and again; allowing for a more in depth exploration of Canada and its experiences. 2 P age Showcase Canada Asia October 2014

3 AtBC s team also met with the China based Destination BC and Canadian Tourism Commission teams to discuss how AtBC can participate in cooperative marketing initiatives to significantly increase the Aboriginal cultural tourism profile in the Chinese market. These initiatives will be implemented early in Opportunities for Aboriginal Tourism BC Increasing demand for experiences by Chinese independent travellers and small affinity groups (e.g., families, friends) provides an opportunity for Aboriginal tourism experiences in Canada and British Columbia. Aboriginal tourism provides a competitive edge for the destination of British Columbia. Affluent Chinese travellers tend to be interested in experiences that provide nature and culture, which many Aboriginal tourism providers offer. AtBC s partners (Destination BC, Tourism Vancouver and the Canadian Tourism Commission) have been active in China and will work with AtBC to provide insights into the market and connections to important travel trade partners. Success will involve identifying the right niche of Chinese clientele, working with their channels of distribution, and having export ready products and experiences bookable through receptive tour operators such as TPI, CAL Travel, Jonview, etc. 4. China Market Update Key Travel Trends Rising incomes, currency appreciation, a growing economy, increasing international flights, relaxed visa restrictions, digital enhancement services plus a desire to explore the world has created an unprecedented boom in outbound tourism. 3 P age Showcase Canada Asia October 2014

4 All countries are competing for the Chinese tourism market The fastest growing segment is independent travel by affluent middle class and luxury travellers aged 20 to 45. Winter sports, cruise, ESL/summer camps, self drive/rv, luxury, unique and extreme experiences are becoming increasingly popular with independent travellers. Over 80 per cent of China s 618 million Internet userss (2013) access it via mobile devices. There are 1.1 billion mobile subscribers. Virtually all destination planning and information is sourced online. Tour Operator Perspectives Key agents, especially OTAs, reporting increased demand for independent travel. Fast growing trend for independent travellers to book travel elements throughh OTAs or directly online (air, hotel, car, attractions and experiences). Visa: 60 per cent of leisure travel and all incentive applications go through the CTC/Embassy fast track process. 100 per cent of applicants for Canadiann Visas now automatically receive a multiple entry visa valid for 10 years or life of passport. This invites the Chinesee traveller to visit again and again; allowing for a more in depth exploration of Canada and its experiences. 5. Next Steps Similar to other markets, most Chinese tour operators and agencies work with receptive tour operators. AtBC is focusing on building key account relationships with the local receptives servicing the Chinese market, but we also need to push Aboriginal tourism to the tour operators in the marketplace. If the travel trade in China is not aware of Aboriginal tourism and its experiences, they will not ask for it. 4 Page Showcase Canada Asia October 2014

5 AtBC will also be collaborating with the Canadian Tourism Commission team in China on several in market marketing activities to raise the profile of Aboriginal cultural tourism amongst the independent and high end Chinese travellers. Other initiatives may include future sales missions in the market place. AtBC will also be discussing the Chinese market during the upcoming Stakeholder Forum in Chase at the end of November. If you have any questions, please Dana Schoahs at or follow her on twitter to get regular updates on upcoming tradeshows and other marketing activities. 5 P age Showcase Canada Asia October 2014

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