Destination Canada executive-director Chantz Strong says this country’s tourism trade clearly needs to broaden its peak season beyond two currently all-important summer months.
Strong told a Thursday webinar that the damage done to Canadian tourism during the coronavirus pandemic underscores the risks of having tourism rely heavily on July and August.
“This (the pandemic) has identified very critical vulnerabilities in the tourism sector…,” he said, suggesting that more efforts be made to attract visitors to this country during March, April, May, June, September and October.
This country’s tourism trade has been badly battered by the pandemic but Strong said there have been some positive developments, among them what he described as “unprecedented amounts of cooperation” between this country’s different tourism promotion boards.
As well, current border closures and other hindrances to international travel will make vacationing within Canada more attractive to Canadians, he said.
Tourism boards need to change some of the images they use to attract visitors, Strong continued, suggesting that ones showing “open vistas” will be more effective at attracting vacationers during these days of social distancing than pictures of “someone having a cocktail on a crowded patio.”
However, Strong warned that those seeking tourists must not only be able to convince the potential visitors that they’ll be safe during their visits but also must convince destinations hosting the visitors that their guests aren’t a health threat.
Leger’s Edwin Sheppard told the webinar that a June survey his research and polling firm conducted suggested that a third of Canadians would be uncomfortable travelling internationally until a coronavirus vaccine is found.
There’s a “huge push” toward local and regional staycations, he said.
Sheppard said outdoor attractions stand to do better in a time of concern about social distancing than tourist draws found in areas “that are a little more congested.”
Panelists also suggested that those in Canada’s tourism trade look at how other countries are handling coronavirus and how we can learn from their handling of it.