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JUST LIKE the ice hockey the country adores, Canada is coming out swinging on the world tourism stage.

In an impassioned speech at the opening of the 46th Rende-Vous Canada in Quebec, Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault announced that $CA50 million (approx. $AU56m) would be invested in Destination Canada over the next three years.

“Canada has what the world wants. This is a confident country and we get things done. And we’re putting our money where our mouth is.

“So, if there’s something in your country that you think should be in Canada, we’re ready to play. Canada is open for business.”

Over the course of the sold-out, three-day event some $150 million in business is expected to be written. More than 1,500 people registered to attend this year, including more than 370 international buyers from Destination Canada’s key markets, including Australia. 

Speaking to media from around the world, Mr Boissonnault said that Canada’s whole approach to tourism was in the process of a re-boot.

“We’re trying to change a 50-plus year thinking that tourism just happens. We kept thinking that tourism was just a nice thing to have. Then the rest of the world woke up and realised that tourism is a big business.

“So, we are fundamentally changing our approach to tourism to an intentional, “we are going to compete and we are going to get our share of the market” approach.

“The number one service export for Canada is not artificial intelligence. It’s not finance. It’s not IT. It’s tourism – the visitor economy – is the number one service export for Canada.”

Asked how the country was recovering post-COVID, Marsha Walden, President and CEO, Destination Canada, said they hoped to return to pre-pandemic figures later this year or early in 2024.


Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault with senior Canadian tourism officials

“The recovery is going well. We’re not there yet but we’re gaining momentum.”

Sustainability was very much on the agenda during the media briefing, with officials also talking about the benefits of regenerative tourism.

“There are so many aspects of tourism that can help regenerate aspects of our indigenous culture, food, music, dance, etc. So tourism has a lot to offer in this space and we’re doing plenty on the environmental front as well,” commented Ms Walden.

“Every single one of us has been somewhere in the world and it has fundamentally changed us. That’s what Canada will offer. It’s going to blow your mind and take your breath away,” added Mr Boissonnault.

“I can’t wait to see how high our businesses and the people who work in the sector and our tourism industry in our country will soar when we get this right, with your help.”


VisitBritain invited the Australian travel industry to celebrate their new monarch…and play trivia!

The Australian travel industry has gathered for a street party to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.

Organised by VisitBritain, the evening featured bunting, Beefeaters and a trivia quiz that had assembled guests testing their knowledge about the Old Dart.

Superbly emceed by Maria Sykes, VisitBritain’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, the event showcased just why Australia is now the third highest overseas market to Britain.

“The recovery out of Australia has been terrific,” said Ms Sykes in between quizmaster duties.

“Everyone’s recovered fast but the Australian market into the UK has recovered at lightning speed and that pace is accelerating.”

Ms Sykes revealed that between the first and final quarters of 2022, Australian visitor spend into the British economy quadrupled. Almost £500million (approx. $1.8billion) was spent in the final quarter alone.

“That made us the third most valuable overseas market, more valuable than France. France, you might remember, has 70 million people. Australia has 25 million people.

“The most distant friend of Britain became more valuable than their closest neighbour. It’s pretty extraordinary.”

While the coronation was the main reason for the party, Eurovision was also a major topic, with Liverpool hosting the annual song contest in place of Ukraine and expected to draw a worldwide TV audience of 160 million.

The event also gave VisitBritain a chance to spruik the other attractions and events that continue to draw visitors from around the world.

“The quality and the diversity of Britain’s cultural menu is simply unparalleled.

“An extraordinary country that offers millennia of history sitting alongside striking modernity, innovation, creativity and one of only three nations on Earth with a trillion-dollar technology industry. Britain alone will keep you busy for a lifetime and give you the bucket list of your dreams.”

As for the trivia quiz, Traveltalk’s Managing Editor Jon Underwood was part of the team that managed to walk off with first prize.

For the trivia buffs, here are some of the questions from the night (answers below).

Q: Which famous pop star is Godmother to Elton John’s children?

Q: According to Wikipedia the world’s top three best-selling non-fiction authors are all British. Name them.

Q: What is the most popular pub name in Britain?

Q: Name the famous London hotel that hosted the Princess of Wales before her wedding to Prince William?

Q: King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut is a famous music venue that has hosted many famous up and coming bands. In which city is it located?

Q: Which city has the most museums in Britain outside of London?

A: Lady Gaga; Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Barbara Cartland/J.K.Rowling (tied); The Red Lion; The Goring; Glasgow; Liverpool

Aussies Leading the Road to Recovery

TOURISM THAILAND have staged their first roadshow to Australia in three years, bringing with it encouraging news about the recovery of overseas travel.

Some 40 Thai suppliers from regions around the Kingdom made the trip Down Under to meet with travel trade partners and agents in Melbourne and Sydney.

Resorts and attractions from across Thailand were represented, including Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai, along with the major airlines connecting our two countries.

Figures released at the events showed firm signs that Australians are returning to one of their favoured destinations in significant numbers.

A total of 319,346 Aussies visited Thailand in 2022, putting us at 12th on the list of incoming international tourist numbers.

This year’s stats are looking even better, with 154,000 arrivals already in the first quarter of 2023. That’s 80 per cent of the total recorded in 2019.

Part of the reason for the increased numbers is the availability of direct flights between the two countries.

There are now 40 direct flights between Australia and Thailand per week, the equivalent of 13,685 seats, which is again at 80 per cent of 2019 capacity.

“I think we should celebrate how 2023 has been going and I believe that if we work together, we’re going to drive more quality tourism,” said Sherly Handjojo, Marketing Manager, Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Ms Handjojo also revealed TAT’s marketing strategies for Australia in 2023, focusing on certain categories. These are repeat visitors, first visitors, special interest and green tourism.

“These are the four main pillars that we want to focus on and it’s going to be a great focus because we want to create meaningful and fulfilling trips in the most sustainable way.”