Discover America Canada held its May Chapter meeting in Toronto yesterday afternoon, welcoming about 35 DMOs representing a host of U.S. destinations.
Susan Webb, president of Discover America Canada, updated the gathering on some of the upcoming events, including the annual Canadian reception on June 2 at this year’s IPW in Anaheim, California; Discover America Canada Day that’s set for Sept. 30 at Toronto’s Arcadian Court; and the annual U.S. Thanksgiving Lunch that will be held on Nov. 19 at the Chefs’ House at George Brown College in Toronto.
The afternoon session also saw Brand USA’s senior director, global trade development, Jackie Ennis introduce Colin Skerritt, Brand USA’s new regional director Canada to the crowd.
Ennis explained that Skerritt is the first Brand USA employee hired outside of the US, which is clearly an indication of just how important a source market Canada is in the group’s plans going forward.
Describing it as “a fantastic opportunity,” Skerritt told the DMO representatives attending that his focus on the travel trade side will be on building Brand USA’s trade relationships in Canada and right now – only three weeks into his new role – he’s looking for input from the trade to help build that strategy.
But he made it clear that as he sees it, “there’s so much potential [for growth for the US] in the Canadian market.”
The meeting also welcomed Jennifer Hendry, senior research associate, Canadian Tourism Research Institute (CTRI), The Conference Board of Canada, who offered a Summer 2019 Outlook of travel trends and patterns into the US.
In her outlook, Hendry covered a wide range of areas, but the bottom line is that right now just one-fifth of travellers have booked their trips to the U.S; and 50% of travel to the U.S is still in the early stages of planning – something that she described as “a bit concerning.”
On the positive side of things, air travel to the U.S is strong, with 10.1 million air seats available to the U.S this summer. On the other hand, car travel to the U.S is weak.
And while the U.S travel market recovered somewhat in 2018, Hendry pointed to a range of issues – economic, political, demographic, etc. – as reasons that that recovery will be short-lived, observing that “U.S trip intentions are at their lowest point in a decade.”
In the photo
Seen from left to right, are Colin Skerritt, Susan Webb and Jennifer Hendry.