ETC, CATO want Canadians to see Europe differently

The European Travel Commission Canada (ETC) and the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) teamed up for a unique event at The Symes in Toronto’s Junction this week, and hopefully, it’s an event that will become an annual affair.

And it was definitely unique considering that you don’t usually see a group promoting destinations team up with an association that is all about industry advocacy, but the ETC and CATO found common ground, using the evening to explore the theme of Plan Different. Travel Different. Be Different. – when selling Europe to Canadians.

Sandra Moffatt, chair of ETC Canada and country manager, Canada for Tourism Ireland, explained that the evening was all about talking to the 130 travel professionals attending on the benefits of showing their clients the opportunities that await when they travel in off-peak times, and also travel out of the major centres and into other regions when travelling to Europe.

Marco Frank, vice chair of the ETC Canada and the trade and partnership manager for VisitFlanders, agreed with Moffatt’s explanation, telling Press Today that Travel Different is about ‘spreading the season out’ and ‘getting people to see the benefits of travelling during the off season.”

Said Frank: “It’s about getting people to see Europe differently.”

CATO’s chair, Brett Walker – who’s also GM Collette Canada and international business operations – said of the event and its theme: “This has never been done before. It was an opportunity for cooperation between ETC and CATO and there was alignment between the two organizations on … getting people to travel to different places at different times of the year.”

Walker told Press Today: “We had a conversation on whether an event like this would work,” and realized that this was “an opportunity to come together under one big tent because there is a lot to talk about.”

Walker continued: “We need to look at this through a different lens. There are lots of cases where low season is the best time to visit a destination and the industry needs to work together on this. We don’t need people only travelling in the summer and the Travel Different theme resonates with our members.”

Seven destinations — that included Ireland, Flanders-Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and France — and 10 tour operators — including Intrepid, G Adventures, TravelBrands, The Travel Corporation, Collette, Railbookers, Transat, Goway, Royal Irish Tours and Globus – took part in the event.

Watch for more on the ETC, CATO Travel Different event in the next issue of TRAVEL COURIER.


In the photo

Seen here, from l to r, are CATO’s Jean Hebert, ETC’s Sandra Moffatt, CATO’s Brett Walker and ETC’s Marco Frank