Photo by Nick Wong

The hotel industry continues to ride a wave of success. With the exception of some turbulence in western Canada over the last two years, the country has seen a spike in occupancy rates, RevPAR and room rates. How long the ride will last remains to be seen, but based on this year’s Top 50 Report, it appears the heady days might last a little while longer.

To drive continued success, the industry needs to tick off various boxes: first off, the hotel industry needs to continue to fuel innovation, tap into the power of technology and provide stellar service — all the while continuing to beef up its marketing efforts to ensure messaging is focused, exciting and captivating. With so many countries competing for tourism dollars we need to ensure travellers around the world are properly educated on this country’s diversity and wealth of product.

Fortunately, Canadian tourism officials are spending money and effort to target new marketing opportunities to grow tourism. Just last month, Canada sent a delegation to China for a week-long session that brought together tourism and industry businesses and stakeholders with a focus on promoting Indigenous tourism, rural and remote destinations, culinary tourism and winter-sports tourism.

The delegation showcased Canada’s diverse tourism opportunities to Chinese travellers and to the Chinese tourism industry — a group that is growing in size. In fact, 2018 has been branded the Canada-China Year of Tourism and, with greater interaction with this market, industry leaders are focused on developing a better understanding of its huge potential. A number of key business-development events — in Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai — were recently held to help delegates gain a better understanding of this market and forge important partnerships with Chinese operators.

Is it any wonder? The Chinese market is quickly becoming significant based on sheer size and intensifying clout. Since China granted Canada approved-destination status in 2010, the number of Chinese tourists to Canada has grown by nearly 20 per cent each year on average. The number of tourists from China grew from 195,000 in 2010 to 682,000 in 2017 (according to preliminary estimates). And, in 2016, Chinese tourists spent an estimated total of $1.488 billion in Canada.

Already this year, preliminary tourism estimates for the first quarter of 2018 (January to March) show approximately 131,000 Chinese tourists visited Canada, representing growth of 25.6 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017. In fact, in the first quarter of 2018, China has overtaken the U.K. as the largest overseas market for Canadian tourism for the first time ever.


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