The United Kingdom is Alberta’s largest overseas market and remains one of the most challenging and competitive markets in the world. Given that U.K. travellers have a propensity to stay longer and spend more, it’s critical that we present a compelling message against our tourism competition.
ITB World Travel Trends Report 2014/2015 notes that U.K. outbound travel grew by 5%, and predicts that the market will grow by 7%. The U.K. is recovering strongly from the downturn and is now one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world according to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
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 Destination Canada’s 2014 Global Tourism Watch, 7.3 million U.K. travellers are interested in visiting Canada in the next two years. 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 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. In particular, the early-bird market is crucial to the ski traffic from the U.K., where we are seeing some return to Alberta resorts from British skiers.
UNITED KINGDOM KEY ACTIVITIES
- Engage the digitally connected traveller through year-round marketing in the U.K.
- Target and engage high-potential travellers and maximize brand extensions by leveraging well-known brands in the U.K.
- Develop and promote Alberta export-ready products to increase offerings in tour operator itineraries
- Leverage the strong Canada brand by partnering with Destination Canada
- Develop an Alberta Academy training platform specific for the U.K. market to train frontline representatives and reservation agents
- Grow and engage our social media communities by leveraging influencers to drive advocacy
- Create, curate and share inspiring Alberta stories in all channels
- Well-educated sales force of tour operators and travel agents selling Alberta in the market
- Increased interest in Alberta summer experiences
- Growth in skier numbers to Alberta from the U.K.
- Strong online presence for Alberta in the U.K. market
- Additional Alberta export-ready products sold in the market
- Positive media coverage for Alberta from targeted media outlets
- Growth and increased engagement in social media communities