The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) recently participated in Destination Canada’s Canada Specialist Program (CSP) annual UK roadshow. The CSP is an educational program for UK travel trade professionals, which includes online training, opportunities to participate in familiarization tours to Canada, and in-market events. The UK travel trade continues to be a key element in attracting UK visitors to Canada. From the UK market, 24% of visitors to Canada consulted travel agents to plan their trip, 29% booked flights with a travel agent, and 25% booked accommodation with a travel agent. (Source: UK Global Tourism Watch 2016).
The 2018 CSP UK Roadshow took place June 13 in Birmingham, June 14 in Exeter, June 18 in London, and June 19 in Manchester. The events combined a networking reception in which Canada representatives each had a display table, followed by a casual dinner and Canada quiz. CSP independent travel agents and reservations staff from key UK tour operators attended. In total, 270 agents were trained at this year’s events. ACTP UK Program Manager Kelley Keefe represented Atlantic Canada.
Destination representatives included Vancouver, Whistler, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Ottawa, Quebec, Yukon, St. John’s and Atlantic Canada. Suppliers included Air Canada, Air Transat, APT, British Airways, WestJet, Rocky Mountaineer, Sun Peaks, and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
At the events, the Atlantic Canada mini presentations during the networking sessions were well received. Many guests commented that they were familiar with Western Canada, Ontario and Quebec, but they lacked knowledge of Atlantic Canada. The agents were very engaged and were especially surprised by the short flying time.