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 we present a compelling message against our competition.
ITB World Travel Trends Report 2015/2016 notes that U.K. consumer confidence is among the highest in Europe with an increase of six points over last year. The U.K. is recovering strongly from the global economic downturn and is now one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation 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.
Opportunity for growth
New direct air service increases air capacity and influences travel during winter and shoulder season.
- Capitalize on the new direct air service by WestJet and increased air capacity with other airlines through airline and airport partnerships
- Leverage the strong British currency to deliver compelling destination messaging
- Focus on leveraging early-bird booking periods to drive awareness and conversion
- Invest in marketing partnerships that will help to diversify Alberta product and grow visitation throughout the province
- Engage the digitally connected traveller through year-round marketing focused on targeting with relevant content
- Strengthen Alberta's position in the MICE segment through strong vertical alignment with Alberta industries