Nova Scotia hopes to woo Chinese tourists
In 2015, China became the second-largest visiting nation to Canada
Tourism Nova Scotia is aiming to draw more Chinese visitors to the province, and is for the first time marketing specifically to the Asian country.
The Crown corporation's strategy is part of a broader effort to double the tourism economy in the province from $2 billion to $4 billion by 2024 — a recommendation of the 2014 Ivany report.
"China is a tremendous opportunity," Martha Stevens, acting CEO and director of marketing with Tourism Nova Scotia, told CBC Radio's Information Morning.
"In fact, Destination Canada — which is the national marketing organization — has been actively promoting Canada in China since 2010 and has had double-digit growth year over year."
In 2015, China became the second-largest visiting nation to Canada. However, Atlantic Canada, and in particular Nova Scotia, hasn't yet capitalized much on that growth, Stevens said.
About 454,000 Chinese travelers visited Canada in 2014, generating $1 billion in tourist receipts and supporting about 7,200 jobs. The market potential for Canada is estimated at 7.2 million visitors annually.
According to Tourism Nova Scotia, the pace of economic expansion in China is forecast to trend downward in the coming years. But further appreciation of the Chinese yuan against the Canadian dollar in 2015 and 2016 will continue to make Canada a better value destination for Chinese visitors.
'Significant' growth opportunity
Stevens called the opportunity for growth "significant."
"Our job now is to get Nova Scotia on that map."
Stevens said attracting Chinese tourists could be difficult but Nova Scotia has a lot to offer, including the beautiful seacoast, an abundance of seafood, and Cape Breton's growing golf industry.
"Those kind of experiences absolutely resonate with their type of clientele," she said.
Most visitors would come for 1 to 3 weeks
Tourists from China typically have a 10- to 18-day itinerary in Canada. Stevens said the two-hour flight from Toronto to Halifax makes Nova Scotia appealing.
"What they're looking for is the opportunity to explore uncrowded landscapes. To be able to experience some of our cultures, some of our seafood," she said.
These travellers usually have money, said Stevens, and expect "five-star type accommodations." That's something Nova Scotia has, but she said it's also an opportunity to "up our game."
In terms of the language barrier, Stevens said these travellers are used to going to places where Chinese is not spoken.
With files from CBC's Information Morning