Tourism P.E.I. targets Alberta in new 2020 campaign
‘We have been bucking the trends in some years and actually doing better than some of our competitors'
Prince Edward Island will be "aggressively" targeting Alberta in its 2020 tourism marketing campaign for the first time.
The Island hopes to capitalize on WestJet's new direct flights between Calgary and Charlottetown, which launch on June 25.
Brenda Gallant, director of marketing with Tourism P.E.I., says the province is the envy of many other markets with the increase in the number of flights to the Island.
The challenge, she said, is ensuring those seats are filled.
"Every year we are seeing growth," Gallant told tourism operators gathered for the 2020 tourism marketing launch in Charlottetown on Tuesday.
"We could say this is happening everywhere across the country and there has been growth across the country. But we have been bucking the trends in some years and actually doing better than some of our competitors."
'A bit of a challenge'
The Alberta tourism campaign will include traditional media buys, including television and radio, as well as online advertising. The province also plans to have a highly visible role at a Calgary golf show and in a separate outdoor show planned for March in the city of 1.3 million people.
Matthew Jelley, president of Maritime Fun Group, which owns Shining Water Family Fun Park in Cavendish, said now it's up to operators to lure those new visitors into their establishments
"With the new flight to Calgary, it opens up a whole new set of possibilities," he said. "Through the Calgary hub, not only do we access Calgary, which is one of Canada's most significant cities, but all the other surrounding areas that feed through Calgary."
New Hamilton flights
The province is also reaching out to a second new market because of new airline connections to Hamilton, Ont. Swoop will offer three flights a week to Hamilton, also starting at the end of June.
Flair Airlines also plans new flights between Toronto and Charlottetown.
Gallant said the province already focuses heavily on the Ontario market, but the new Swoop flights provide a new opportunity in the Hamilton area.
Gallant said they aren't pulling back on their traditional markets in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces, and the province will also be putting some marketing dollars into Japan, the U.S., U.K, and Germany.
More commercial spending
This year, Tourism P.E.I. is spending more on its television and online commercial.
Rather than simply using visuals, the province invested in full 15-second and 30-second commercials in both French and English, which cost about $130,000.
P.E.I. musician John Connolly voiced the new commercials.
The province spends about $4 million annually on tourism marketing, and last year attracted 1.6 million visitors.
Airport traffic up
Charlottetown Airport CEO Doug Newson said he believes the new flights will bring new people to the Island as well as prompt people who may fly into other airports, like Moncton, to fly directly into P.E.I.
"There is no question it is going to be a bit of a challenge to fill that additional capacity," said Newson. "It is a good problem to have."
The airport has increased the number of seats to 90,000 in 2020 from 60,000 in 2018.
In addition to the new airlines, Air Canada is increasing the number of seats it offers by six per cent, by flying larger aircraft into the Island's only commercial airport.
Air Canada still accounts for 60 per cent of Charlottetown Airport's overall business.
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