Organizers are gearing up for the annual Florida Huddle, which is set for Jan. 14 to Jan. 16 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. Huddle has been in major expansion mode again following years of dwindling fortunes, including the total pullout of the state’s major theme parks. With all major players back in the fold, the second edition of the trade show under Visit Florida ownership promises to be bigger and better than ever, according to its logistical chief. The first Huddle coordinated by Visit Florida in January 2014 saw a year-over-year 14% boost in qualified buyers from 19 different countries, including the state’s number-one international source market – Canada.
With a total of 619 delegates representing 345 companies, the appointment scheduling goal of a 1:1 ratio between buyers and suppliers was achieved, stated a Visit Florida official, who explained that the total delegate count also included non-appointment taking suppliers, staff and media.
The first version under new ownership went over so well that buyer participation for 2015 will likely be up another 10% to a total of some 220, revealed Visit Florida meetings and conventions manager Steven Bonda.
For the full story on the 2015 Florida Huddle in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, click here.
Canada Is Hot, Hot, Hot
Also in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, Montreal editor, Mike Dunbar reports that
2014 was Canada’s year for inbound tourism. The country outperformed the competition by a substantial margin and was set to deliver record numbers from a slew of key markets.
That was the upbeat message delivered to the annual summit of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) recently by Greg Klassen, who has been filling the interim chief executive slot at the Canadian Tourist Commission (CTC).
Klassen told delegates attending the Ottawa meeting that, to September this year, Canada hit an average growth rate of 10.4% in its top-10 leisure markets.
Additionally, the Chinese, Brazilian, Indian and Australian markets are at all-time highs, while France is expected to follow suit once the final numbers are tallied.
According to Klassen, this country’s stellar performance outpaces Europe, which is showing only 4% growth, while global arrivals are expanding at a mere 5% clip.
The marketing specialist, who will be leaving the commission in February, pointed out that Canada is even doing okay in the United States, where there’s been no CTC marketing activity for the past four years or so.
For the full story, click here.
Israel Takes The Initiative
When Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Dr. Uzi Landau, MK arrived in Toronto in mid-December it was with a simple purpose of launching new initiatives designed to boost tourism to Israel from Canada following a summer of conflict with Hamas, reports executive editor, Bob Mowat in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.
“Tourism to Israel was on the increase for the third consecutive year up to July  when the launch of rockets by Hamas … deterred people from coming to the area and now we have an initiative to bring back our tourists,” the Minister told Canadian Travel Press in an interview.
That initiative sees Israel reaching out to its traditional markets – the Jewish and Christian Evangelical communities – along with targeting the newly developing FIT/sophisticated traveller segment and then bolstering those efforts by bringing community leaders – include travel agents and tour operators here – over to see for themselves the true situation in Israel – as well as what it has to offer to its visitors – and, on their return home, to tell of their experiences.
It’s a strategy that has worked before and Minister Landau is clearly of the view that it will work again, telling CTP: “The thing I wish to impress people with is that Israel is safe – safer than many European and North American cities. And I wish that leaders of their communities, people of influence, celebrities, writers … would come to Israel and then come back to their friends, to their family members, to their audiences and followers and simply report what the real narrative of Israel is – through Twitter and Facebook and … blogs. Let them do it without any interference, no filtering, no censorship. If they could only see the beauty of the country and [its] many attractions, I believe that once people come back and speak in their own language to their own people the message, the testimonials will be incredible.”
For more, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.