The Dutch market is showing signs of recovery following the global economic crisis, with strong advance bookings on their flagship carrier KLM to all markets including Alberta. KLM has increased capacity on the Amsterdam to Calgary route and WestJet signed a codeshare arrangement with KLM/Air France that will provide more convenient connections with through-baggage capabilities, and more competitive pricing. Dutch travellers are motivated by nature, wildlife, rest and relaxation, and a growing need for adventure. The Dutch consumer typically spends two to three weeks when visiting Western Canada.
Awareness of Alberta as a travel destination is low in this market and it’s important that we lead with icons such as the Canadian Rockies to spark interest in visiting Canada and Alberta. Threats in this market include fierce competition and fluctuating Euro currency exchange rates. Airfares to the U.S. are considerably cheaper than direct flights to Alberta and the Dutch perceive Canada as more expensive than our competitors.
Marketing activities will continue to focus on our extensive relationship with KLM and a joint winter 2013/14 consumer campaign promoting signature winter experiences. Travel trade activities will also support this campaign and ensure Alberta has a voice in the travel trade community in the absence of CTC presence in the Netherlands. Trade development continues with the creation of a Netherlands-specific website and the launch of the Alberta Specialist Program to help train travel professionals.
Our public relations and media activities include a focus on broadcast to showcase signature Alberta experiences and provide a call to action to increase website visitation. Social media channels will reach Free Spirits in this market to provide a platform for sharing Alberta stories and conversations online. Working closely with the CTC we will participate in major MC&IT events in Europe to generate awareness and business travel to Alberta.