Evidence of meeting #25 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was museum.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

11:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

You can see how some of the return on investment in that campaign was over a hundred to one in terms of dollars. It would be more modest if we were looking at a program targeting youth, but certainly it would be over our fifty to one international marketing benchmark, which means that for every dollar spent on marketing we would be seeking more than fifty dollars directly attributable to visitor spending.

One thing you raised, which I would like to mention here, is that our “Locals Know” campaign was really targeted not just at Canadians travelling within Canada but also at Canadians who were considering international trips, who we were trying to convert to the idea of travelling in Canada this year. That's exactly what we would try to do with the youth as well. We would take youth who are already dreaming and thinking about all these international destinations they're going to travel to in their lifetime and, to use some more marketing lingo, we would try to convert them to the idea of travelling in Canada. Specifically, we'd want to measure our success based on our ability to do that.

We already know that Canada is running a record travel deficit, meaning that a record number of Canadians are travelling outbound, spending record amounts of money internationally. We're also spending some decent money domestically, and our domestic tourism market is in pretty good shape, but the piece that's travelling outbound is the piece we are trying to keep at home.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Wild Rose, AB

Obviously, “Locals Know” is a good example of a success we could have in doing that.

What about the other way? Mr. Brown and by Mr. Trudeau, in some of their questioning, mentioned youth travel in particular. You mentioned trying to draw in international youth travel. I still want to hear a little bit more on some of your ideas for drawing that international youth travel in, both for Canada 150 and going forward.

Can you give us some ideas or thoughts or campaigns that you have planned in that regard specifically?

11:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

I think the biggest challenge we have is to inspire youth with the idea that Canada is a destination for them. When we've worked internationally, we've done a really good job of targeting our target customers, who are perhaps the empty nesters, people who have an opportunity to do more travel. But that's also had the effect of making our youngsters around the world believe that Canada is a destination for their parents. We need to inspire them with the idea that Canada is a destination for them.

We'll do that by extending programs, such as our Signature Experiences Collection program that has been so successful in inspiring the world with ideas of what they can do in Canada. We'll develop a special Signature Experiences Collection of experiences targeted to youth so they get the idea that this is not just a destination for their parents; it's a great destination for youth. We'll be able to compete with Australia and those great destinations that are right now top of mind for youth travel internationally.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Wild Rose, AB

Great, thank you. That's a great piece of the puzzle, for sure.

What about social media and the ways you can use that? Do you have some plans for social media? I guess I'm talking here about the domestic campaign and about drawing international youth. I'm sure social media must be part of your planning. What can you tell us about that?

11:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

Thank you.

I would say that about half of our work now is done through social media. Social media has become not just a channel for us but an integrated part of everything we do. It's also a much more efficient way to market than traditional types of paid media are.

Mostly what we would do with social media for the youth market is to have youth speaking about travel to Canada. It would be youth talking to youth.

It's a traveller-to-traveller type of opportunity we have through social media, which is much more relevant to youth than having a destination marketer tell them all the great things there are to do here. It's really trying to set up the networks and the content that will help feed that youth-to-youth recommendation on travel to Canada.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Richards.

At this point, I'd like to welcome our other new member of the committee, Rathika Sitsabaiesan. Is that pronunciation close?

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

That's pretty good.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Welcome to the committee. You have the last question for this round.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Perfect. Thank you very much.

If I may start, Ms. McKenzie, you were talking about converting youth travellers, and you were speaking about the travel deficit. Your focus, from your comments, seems to be on converting existing travellers who are travelling internationally into domestic travellers. My understanding is that there is no focus on people or Canadian youth who actually are not able to engage in travel, whether domestic or international travel.

What are you doing there? How are you targeting these people who are living below a means that would allow them to travel or explore Canada? Is there something being done to encourage travel for people who are living at lower income levels?

11:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

We haven't looked at the full range of programs that could be offered in this type of a campaign yet. I do expect that with partners coming on board, I could see the opportunity for some sponsored types of opportunities. That may be part of the program.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

So we're maybe looking solely to private sector donors or sponsors to ensure there's travelling in and exploration of Canada by all Canadians. Is that what it is? We're looking for private donors, to ensure that people who may not come from wealthy families have a travel experience?

11:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission

Michele McKenzie

I'm saying that I think we can have programs of that nature included, but I also think that by working with our partners, we'll be able to offer deals that should be accessible to many travellers, even if they're not going that far within Canada.

What we found in our research is that our young people don't have a great knowledge of our country as a destination, even for destinations close to where they may live. It doesn't have to be an expensive undertaking. There can be, I think, opportunities that are accessible for most young Canadians.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

It would be great if it were accessible so that all Canadians could have that experience.

I'm going to switch gears a little bit. I understand that the City of Ottawa has developed a task force devoted to planning Canada's 150th anniversary. I'm going to ask you a multi-part question, Mr. Watson, and you can fill in the blanks for me.

First, can you tell me who the task force members are? Basically, who is represented at the table? Secondly, can you tell me how citizens from across the country are being engaged in your plans for our 150th celebration?

Do you think this task force could work at a national level to ensure that groups from coast to coast to coast are included in the planning of this great celebration? It's our country's party, and the people of the country should be involved in the planning of our party.

11:55 a.m.

Mayor, City of Ottawa

Jim Watson

Thank you for the question.

On our task force, we have representatives from Ottawa Tourism; our convention centre; the Chamber of Commerce; Ottawa Festivals, which is our cultural and festivals network; the Ottawa Senators; the economic development team; and the airport authority. We'll also have the Regroupement des gens d'affaires. As well, the National Capital Commission will be involved.

The two co-chairs are members of our city council.

I also will be attending the Big City Mayors' Caucus later this year in Saskatoon through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and I'm going to be raising the issue of what we are doing collectively, from coast to coast to coast, at the municipal level to start planning.

In many ways, we're a little behind schedule. Five years comes up very quickly. That's why I thought it was important, at least from the national capital's point of view, that we start the process and the dialogue with the federal government and the appropriate ministers and agencies, so that we can start reaching out to as many groups as possible to get them engaged and excited about the sesquicentennial.

Noon

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

So it has been municipally led so far, and there's not really federal leadership on this. Is there going to be any public consultation or any input from the general public or the citizens across the country?