“In a challenging year for the global economy, we’re especially pleased with the recognition that Canada’s tourism brand is holding firm in an intensely competitive international tourism marketplace,” said Greg Klassen, CTC senior vice president, Marketing Strategy. “Our travel marketing focuses on enticing travellers with extra-ordinary experiences against a backdrop of vibrant cities and spectacular natural settings. The strategy has market strength and is paying off. We’ve come a long way from an image of moose and mountains.”
After launching the new tourism brand-”Canada. Keep Exploring”-five years ago, Canada leapfrogged from twelfth place in 2006 to sixth place in 2007, and jumped again to achieve the second-ranked spot for the first time in 2008. This year, the United States received a bounce and has earned the coveted spot as the world’s top country brand for the first time, changing places with Australia, which slipped from the premier ranking to number three. Amidst this jostling, Canada’s tourism brand stands strong, resilient and competitive.
Said Klassen, “A country like the United States has a much bigger global footprint than Canada. As we are less well known, our tourism personality, or brand, has to carry more weight to succeed in getting travellers to choose us. This ranking is one way of validating that we’re on the right track.”
In the 28 different categories that the influential CBI uses to determine the Best Country Brand, Canada also ranked among the top five countries in ten of the categories, and ranked first in the categories of: Country You Would Most Like to Live In; Families; Resort and Lodging Options; Political Freedom; Safety.
Other countries making the Top Ten of the global 2009 CBI study include New Zealand, France, and Italy. CBI also identified the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Vietnam, respectively, as the top three “rising stars”-those likely to become even more competitive within the next five years.
CBI is a comprehensive study of around 3,000 international business and leisure travellers from nine countries-the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Japan, Brazil, UAE, Germany and Russia. The CTC has marketing programs in seven of them.
CBI examines how countries are branded and ranked, and identifies emerging global trends in the world’s fastest-growing economic sector-travel and tourism, which accounted for US$944 billion in international tourism receipts in 2008. This year’s index includes rankings and trends, themes in nation building and marketing issues, as well as in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Top 10 country brands.
“This acknowledgement of our competitive edge is particularly satisfying as we head into the 2010 Winter Games,” added Klassen. “While the world is captivated, the CTC is executing a well-thought-out strategy to promote Canada’s tourism brand in its global markets. We’ve crafted the script and produced the movie that will inspire travellers to explore Canada because of the 2010 Winter Games-and long after the Olympic flame is extinguished.”