It was a high-powered panel of industry executives who were on hand in Toronto yesterday (June 6) to talk about the latest trends in leisure travel at the 9th annual Best Western Leisure Travel Summit (LTS).
Led by Best Western’s senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, Dorothy Dowling, the panel included the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) president and CEO, Charlotte Bell; the Hotel Association of Canada’s (HAC) president, Susie Grynol; TripAdvisor’s director of global communications, Laurel Greatrix; and BrandFuse’s managing editor, Jada Graves.
Summit moderator, Bryson Forbes took the panel through a wide range of questions, with the obvious starter being about Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2017.
Dowling made it clear that for Best Western, forward bookings for the summer season were strong, with the hotel company currently reporting a 2.4% increase in those bookings, but she made it clear that she fully expects to see those increases rise above their current levels.
TIAC’s Bell observed that Canada 150 is “a welcome boost for tourism,” with the industry expecting to see 2017 arrivals surpass the 20 million visitors welcomed in 2016.
“Canada is topping the charts in terms of being everyone’s destination to visit,” Bell told the LTS audience.
And HAC’s Grynol reinforced Bell’s points, reporting that for the hotel industry, 2017 growth is outpacing that of 2016. Occupancy rate for 2017 is at 60.6% … and that’s up over last year, plus HAC’s Travel Intention Study reported that 58% of those surveyed said they were planning to take between two to four trips this year – an increase of 7% over the previous year.
The annual event also looked at the impact of the Trump Administration, the trends in Loyalty plans, innovation, challenges and a host of other issues.
Watch for more on the 9th annual Best Western Leisure Travel Summit in an upcoming issue of Canadian Travel Press.
In the photo, from l to r, are Susie Grynol, Charlotte Bell, Jada Graves, Laurel Greatrix and Dorothy Dowling.