It’s no longer business as usual for Canada. The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) today unveiled its refreshed agenda for the meetings, conventions and incentive travel (MC&IT) sector in Europe at IMEX, the annual giant international trade show in Germany.
There’s a new name—Business Events Canada (BEC)—and a new focus on seven priority sectors where Canada holds a competitive advantage. CTC’s BEC team will be leading its sales approach on aerospace, agriculture and food, clean technology, infrastructure/engineering, information/communication technology, life sciences and natural resources. These priorities are in line with the areas in which Canada is internationally recognized as a centre of excellence.
“Business Events Canada will contribute to efforts under the Federal Tourism Strategy to foster the long-term competitiveness of the tourism sector while creating jobs in Canada,” says The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism). “This new focus will help the Canada tourism brand gain strength and inspire more travellers to visit Canada.”
The new BEC brand reflects the growing significance of the meetings industry to Canada’s economy. Meetings, conventions and incentive travel attracts close to two million visitors each year to Canada with total spending of $1.7 billion—almost a quarter of all money spent by inbound overnight travellers. Canada is the No. 1 location for outbound meetings business from the US, which brings in about $1.4 billion annually.
The new BEC unit already has its first success under its belt: working as part of a local tourism consortium, BEC helped bring the annual TED Conference to Vancouver, BC, starting in 2014. That business coup garnered worldwide attention for the city and Canada as a whole, highlighting it as a centre for innovation.
“Although we have refined our strategic focus on specific industries, we remain firmly committed to working with our partners and clients to bring events of all kinds to Canada,” says Greg Klassen, CTC senior vice-president Marketing Strategy and Communications. “Conventions and meetings held in Canada can be the first spark that ignites interest in doing business that leads to investment in our country as well as exploration of the unique experiences that Canada offers international travellers.”