OTTAWA — The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has released new research conducted by Twenty31 during the height of the pandemic, which indicated international travellers from the U.S. and U.K. still want to come to Canada.

It also found that 40 per cent of these international travellers are interested in visiting Canada during the shoulder seasons.

Additionally, the research suggests shoulder-season travellers are looking for the same hallmark Canadian experiences as those who travel in high season. Both the destinations and activities are broadly the same as those most popular during the peak season.

“These results show how vital it is for Canada to invest in its brand positioning. With shoulder-season travellers looking for the same Canadian experiences as those who travel in high season, building the Canada brand will pay dividends right across the year,” says Oliver Martin, partner, Twenty31.

Growing shoulder-season tourism is a key element of the association’s plans for post-COVID-19 recovery, especially since the summer tourism season looks to be increasingly at risk due to border closures.

TIAC, in partnership with the Government of Canada, recently launched Elevating Canadian Experiences — a workshop series designed to help tourism operators attract travellers to destinations outside of major urban centres. The workshops focus on strategy development and capacity building for tourism operators in the winter/shoulder seasons and in the culinary field.

The content of these workshops slightly shifted to reflect the new reality the industry is facing as a result of COVID-19. Delivered in partnership with provinces, territories and regional partners, Elevating Canadian Experiences is designed to help tourism operators prepare to welcome visitors again once it’s safe to do so.

“With travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic having put a stop to most international tourism for the time being, there may be fewer opportunities in 2020 for foreign travellers to discover Canada,” says Sam Mountford, Research director, Twenty31. “But this research shows, once they’re lifted, many likely visitors are keen to avoid the crowds and enjoy what Canada has to offer during the shoulder season months.”

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