The United Kingdom remains one of the largest and most challenging markets in the world as a result of continuing economic malaise. The U.K. was hard hit by the global economic crisis, and factors such as the weak pound and high unemployment have left consumers with less disposable income, leading vacationers to seek more value for their money. Competing national tourism offices are all targeting U.K. travellers, and airfares to Canada remain comparatively high. Awareness of Alberta as a vacation destination is low in this market.
The U.K. continues to deliver the highest amount of overseas visitors than all other markets. Travel Alberta has a great opportunity to capitalize on strong U.K. travellers’ interest in visiting Canada. They have a propensity to stay longer in Canada and Alberta’s icons and experiences are attractive to them. Access to Alberta is strong with weekly non-stop flights from major U.K. airports as well as connecting flights and charters. WestJet signed a new codeshare agreement with British Airways, providing more convenient connections with through-baggage capabilities and competitive pricing.
Leveraging our partnership with the CTC underpins our strategy in this market. The largest investments will be via the consumer and travel trade channels, capitalizing on new brand resources and assets to differentiate Alberta in a competitive marketplace. Most initiatives will be coordinated with tour operators as they remain important to bookings; ongoing training and education will continue to be a priority.
Activities will align with our public relations and media efforts to promote new package ideas and content through broadcast opportunities that support Alberta’s signature experiences. The Visit Alberta Media Program and social marketing activities will act as platforms to tell our stories. Consumer campaigns will make an emotional connection with consumers, leading with Canadian Rockies messaging and our provincial tourism brand. Compelling valueadded offers will encourage booking without delay. Alberta’s status as a destination for international MC&IT clientele will expand with inmarket representation for Travel Alberta based in the U.K. focused solely on the MC&IT market.