The Trudeau Factor


With his youthful good looks and charismatic style, he’s already proven to be a magnet for paparazzi cameras and fans. And during his international debut at the recent G20 in Turkey and APEC in Manila, new prime minister Justin Trudeau served notice that his new-look leadership plays well on world stages, reports western editor, Ted Davis in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.

Now, Canadian tourism interests want to know if some of that international buzz and glow associated with PM Trudeau might encourage a heightened awareness of Canada and a greater interest in travelling here. Some even see it as a potential boost to international inbound visitor numbers.

“In this age of viral and disruptive social media, the attention generated by Prime Minister Trudeau can only help to raise awareness of Canada,” says Rob Taylor, the VP of public and industry affairs for the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC). “I would imagine that Mr. Trudeau will improve the opinion ‎of Canada among millennials and those with progressive political views.”

Taylor acknowledges that Canada has a comparatively small voice in the barrage of world tourism promotions by larger, richer destinations. Intrinsic to that is a relative lack of knowledge on most things Canuck – other than some well known stereotypes.

“Canada is renowned for incredible natural beauty, cold weather and polite people,” says Taylor. “However the level of knowledge about Canada – its experiences and cities – is remarkably low, including among Americans.”

This lack of knowledge combined with comparatively low marketing budgets leave Canada with a relatively quiet voice in the global marketplace, the TIAC VP told CTP. As a result, Canada is on a lot of bucket lists, but not on many urgent or intention-to-travel agendas.

“Another byproduct of the low marketing investment is that Canada is left susceptible to misinformation about itself,” says Taylor. He cited a recent study of US leisure travel intentions indicating that 3% of respondents were concerned about the level of air pollution in Canada. “For many Americans, the only images they have seen of Canada are anti-oil sands propaganda of tailing ponds, smoke stacks and oiled birds.”

The buzz of recognition accorded PM Trudeau may ultimately encourage some correction to this well of misinformation and stereotypes. Canadian tourism executives are generally in agreement that there are tourism benefits to be realized through the image of Justin Trudeau.

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.