United KingdomThe U.K. is Alberta’s largest overseas market and remains one of the most challenging and competitive markets in the world. We face intense tourism competition as U.K. travellers have a propensity to stay longer and spend more.
According to IPK International, U.K. outbound travel grew by 3% in 2013, and predicts that the market will grow by 7% despite difficult economic conditions.
Awareness of Alberta as a potential vacation destination remains low, although awareness of the Canadian Rockies is high. Airfares to Canada remain comparatively high, but Alberta is positioned well with daily non-stop flights from major U.K. airports as well as connecting flights and charters.
According to the Canadian Tourism Commission's (CTC) 2011 Global Tourism Watch, 16 million U.K. travellers are interested in visiting Canada, and these potential visitors find Alberta’s icons and experiences very attractive. Leading with compelling experiences that resonate in this market will help to maintain market share from one of the world’s most valuable outbound markets.
British travellers are taking fewer short breaks and winter ski breaks to Europe and are instead saving their holidays for a longer summer vacation. Travel Alberta will focus our marketing efforts on the early-bird or peak booking window as Canada is generally perceived as an expensive travel destination.
U.K. marketing efforts for 2014-2015 will align with the CTC’s seasonal campaigns. We will continue to market ski and non-ski winter experiences; however, the bulk of our marketing investment will shift to support Alberta summer holidays.
- Invest in both Alberta year-round campaigns and CTC-led seasonal campaigns
- Build strong relationships with travel trade and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Events) professionals through joint marketing agreements, FAM trips, Alberta destination training, sales missions, marketplaces, conferences and innovative events
- Focus on summer visitation supported by travel trade initiatives with key accounts
- Work with top travel media influencers from the U.K. through media and social media activities to share Alberta’s tourism story
- Expand partnerships with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and provide strong Alberta content to drive awareness and bookings
- Increased interest in Alberta summer experiences
- Strong online presence for Alberta in the U.K. market
- Additional export-ready products supported by receptive tour operators through key accounts
- Positive media coverage for Alberta from targeted media outlets
- Growth and increased engagement in social media communities