No sponsorship, no Discover America Day

Will there or won’t there be a Discover America Day in 2012? As of yesterday, following the Discover America Canada annual general meeting in Toronto, the answer to that question is there will not be a Discover America Day in the fall of 2012. Discover America Canada’s outgoing president, Adam Wilcox told the AGM audience of about 40 travel trade types that in 2011 the organization was unable to get sponsorship for the event and as a result, it was forced to dip into its membership fees to fund Discover America Day. While he said he believed that it was a worthwhile investment — as the event has been gathering momentum in the last few years — he also made it clear that that approach to funding the event is unsustainable. The upshot is that Discover America Canada’s board agrees with that view and has recommended that the organization doesn’t proceed with Discover America Day 2012. In past years, Discover America Canada has received some of its funding for the Discover America Day event from the U.S. Travel Association, but with the transition to Brand USA, Wilcox says that the Canadian group now needs to make a proper presentation to both organizations to make its case for funds. Not surprisingly that announcement created quite a buzz — as in, is Canada being taken for granted, particularly when you consider that Discover America groups in Europe and in South America have received significant funding — amongst those in attendance. However, it may well be a case of it always being darkest before the dawn as Wilcox offered the hope that if Discover America could “get a solid sponsorship” then the annual event would take place. In fact in the question and answer session that followed, Scott Bozek, consul for commercial affairs for the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce here in Toronto brightened spirits a bit more, offering Discover America Canada his support and advising the AGM audience that he would bring in key U.S. officials to help the group make a “concerted” and “forceful” pitch for sponsorship funding to key groups in the U.S. For more, check out the March 5, 2012 edition of Canadian Travel Press.