Joined: 12 Dec 2006
|Posted: Tue May 05, 2009 10:20 am Post subject: Tourism Report 2009 - Susan Schigol
|In Canada Tourism generates economic activity equal to that of forestry, fishing and agriculture combined. Spending by business and leisure travelers amounted to $70.8 billion in 2007.
In Saskatchewan Tourism contributes $1.47 billion annually. Of this more than $500 million in sales is spent by non-residents visitors, classed as an export revenue, this makes tourism the fourth largest export industry in Saskatchewan. In 2007 there were 8.6 million visits to province.
This past year 2008 was marked by a number of challenges including a spike in gas prices, an unpredictable dollar and confusion regarding passport legislation.
In spite of this, new funding enable Tourism Saskatchewan’s (“TS”) Marketing Team to research future target markets, produce photography and high definition videography and further explore markets in the USA and overseas. An improved consumer website enhance efforts and benefitted members with increased activity, better search features and direct link options to member websites.
Initiatives Benefitting Saskatchewan Outfitters
Tourism Saskatchewan continues to publish a comprehensive Fishing and Hunting Guide. A total of 85,000 copies are printed annually. An interactive guide is featured on the Tourism Saskatchewan website. In 2008, it was accessed by over 1500 visitors, with 62,000 individual page views occurring.
Tourism Saskatchewan launched a “new and improved” website one year ago. By the end of 2008, approximately 586,000 visits had been paid to the site. Each month, there were over 26,000 click-through to Tourism Saskatchewan member websites. It is important to note that nearly 22,000 click-through to outfitters took place.
TS Web Marketing Strategy also includes the creation of micro-sites for specific products. A fishing micro-site was recently launched. By the end of 2009, TS plans to have a hunting micro-site up and running.
Last year, Tourism Saskatchewan tested a paid keyword campaign with a number of Internet Search Engines. The results of this campaign included over 51,000 visits to member websites that cater to hunting, with fishing attracting nearly 24,000 visits.
Face-to-face contact remains an important focus of the Marketing Department. Representatives from Tourism Saskatchewan will participate in over 20 marketplace events and trade shows specific to hunting and fishing. New marketplaces in the south east United States and other promising locations will be tested. It is estimated that well over 6,000 individuals contacts will be made at these marketplaces, with an estimated 4,000 qualified leads secured.
In 2008 for the month of September, Saskatchewan had the third highest hotel occupancy levels and the highest growth in room demand of all of the provinces. Occupancies were at 71.4% and room demand was up 6% over September, 2007. Occupancies in Regina and Saskatoon slipped a little this past September to 75.7% from 78.1% in September 2007, but demand was still up 0.8%. Occupancies in Regina and Saskatoon decreased due to a 3.8% increase in supply.
For the year-to-date, occupancies in Saskatchewan were up to 67% from 62.7% in 2007 and demand was up 6%. Year-to-date occupancies for Regina and Saskatoon were basically flat at 69%, but demand was up 3.8% (and supply 4.7%) to give these two cities the second highest demand growth in Canada.
In terms of air capacity the number of non-stop airline seats from the United States to Manitoba/Saskatchewan increased 30.8% for the fourth quarter 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. This is in contrast to the 2.5% increase in seats from the US to Canada overall.
In September, U.S. residents' direct entries to Saskatchewan were down 2.1% (to 13,103) compared to September, 2007. Direct entries for one or more nights to Saskatchewan were up 1.4% (to 9,415) in September.
Year-to-date, (Jan to Sept. 2008) U.S. resident direct entries to Saskatchewan were down 6.2% with entries for one or more nights down 4.7%.
Unfortunately, for Canadians returning from the United States, Saskatchewan had the largest percentage increase in visits to the United States (9.1% to 33,348) in September 2008 compared to September of 2007. For the year-to-date, Saskatchewan saw an increase of 25.6% (to 325,530) in total returning Canadians. Canadians returning at a Saskatchewan border point are a rough equivalent to the number of Saskatchewan residents visiting the United States.
Same day returns of Canadians at a Saskatchewan border crossing increased 29.4% over the first nine months of 2007 and overnight or longer visits increased 23.2% over the same period.
Forecasts and Outlooks
Saskatchewan is forecast to show the largest growth in travel volumes (3.1%) and total overnight traveler expenditures (5.5%) of any jurisdiction in Canada in 2009. This growth is entirely based on growth in domestic travel and expenditures (3.4%) while United States visits are forecast to decrease a further 4.4% and overseas visits will be flat (0.6%).
Overall US visits to Canada are forecast to be down 4.7% in 2009 with expenditures down 3.5%.
Global Insight’s forecast for United States residents’ domestic travel outlook predicts that US domestic travel contracted in the first half of 2008 and that US domestic trips will decline 0.6% in 2008 and a further 0.6% in 2009. While they do not offer predictions of US travel to Canada, it is safe to assume that these lost domestic trips within the United States will not be replaced with trips to Canada.
Global Insight further forecasts that easing of food and energy prices will help restore the “share of wallet” that consumers are able to dedicate to travel perhaps by mid 2009, but the weakness in the economy through the first half of 2009 will continue the decline in US travel overall through 2009.
Perception and New Ideas
According to the 2008 National Leisure Travel Monitor, 13% of US travel households (those who are active travelers) are interested in visiting Canada on vacation during the next two years (the same percentage who expressed interest in 2007).
Also, as you might expect they differ considerably from the general population of U.S. leisure travelers. Specifically, they tend to be older (45+ in age), value-conscious, and far more likely to be interested in outdoor recreation.
Some advice in terms of marketing, ensure all marketing communication includes a specific call to action and, where possible, a specific promotional offer that will invite a response. You should also re-evaluate the media strategy you incorporate to bring the message to the marketplace as fully 6 out of 10 U.S. travelers now report going to the Internet to ‘comparison shop’ for details.
With regard to the current recession most tourism businesses in the province can expect some downward pressure on demand in the year ahead. However, Canada is now in a better position to market to prospective visitors from the U.S. because of the recent decline in the value of the Canadian dollar. “Value is now King” and the decline in the value of the Canadian dollar makes Canadian vacations that much more affordable.
Whatever challenges we have our Hunting and Fishing Industry has tremendous strengths. The experience that visitors have when they come here is superlative to everywhere else. Outfitting contributes in excess of $100 million and an estimated 5,000 jobs. It is reported that out-of-province visitors who travel to Saskatchewan to enjoy fishing and hunting adventures spend an average of $2600 to $4300 per trip, excluding air fares; I believe this to be a conservative estimate. It is important to note their average expenditures range from 13 to 22 times more than other visitors – people traveling for reasons other than hunting or fishing. The financial support provided to conservation and the economy as a whole is significant. The outfitting industry is a critical partner in conservation and the growth of the Province.