We’ll Drink to that: Beer Sharing Infamous Virus Name Helps to Boost Canadian Tourism
Corona Canada Launches Travel Auction
By: Lynn Elmhirst, Open Jaw Trends Editor
As inbound and outbound tourism has shutdown, travel and hospitality within Canada have also ground to a virtual standstill. Trickles of domestic travel are just beginning.
Thankfully, we’ve seen an encouraging trend of support of domestic Canadian tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of this support is solemn and official, in the forms of masked ministerial meetings and press conferences, government investment, and the like.
But last week we learned of a private-sector program that’s really outside the box. Or should we say, outside the two-four.
Corona Canada has launched a travel ‘auction’ program to support Canadian domestic tourism.
At first, there’s no obvious connection between Mexico’s famous ‘beach escape’ beer and the domestic tourism situation in Canada.
But maybe you remember this.
There is, unfortunately for Corona beer, a coincidental connection between it and the virus responsible for the travel industry shutdown.
In an **actual** case of ‘fake news’, Corona beer was inadvertently swept up in early online conversations about what was initially called the ‘corona virus’.
It was too good to pass up, and social media jokesters had a heyday creating memes like these that instantly went viral… Last one:
Since the adoption of the term ‘COVID-19’, most of us (I certainly) had forgotten the connection.
Maybe Corona beer had not. And perhaps reputational rehabilitation factored in to the Canadian division of the beer company’s move to be part of the post-COVID solution for arguably its hardest-hit sector.
Tea Leaves Beer Suds of Canadians’ Intentions to Travel
Announcing the local tourism initiative, Corona Canada cited results of a survey it commissioned of Canadians about travel within our borders.
It found that nearly two-thirds say they want to support Canadian tourism through local travel and 40% are ‘excited’ to plan a vacation here as early as this fall and winter. The same number indicatethey're looking for unique, outdoor Canadian travel experiences.
That’s a connection the company is happy to make, noting Corona beer is “synonymous with the beach and celebrates time outdoors. Corona beer invites people to pause, relax and disconnect to reconnect with our essential nature.”
Mike Bascom, Senior Marketing Director, Corona Canada adds, "Having seen the devastating impact of the global pandemic on the Canadian travel industry this summer, we felt now was the time to launch a program that could help inspire greater awareness and support for local tourism, especially as we head into the fall/winter travel season."
“Rediscover the Outdoors”
The beer company’s solution is a travel auction program that provides an immediate investment into the Canadian tourism industry. Corona and OTA Travelzoo have pre-purchased outdoor experience packages from local tourism vendors across Canada. The experiences are available for consumers to browse and bid on at the “Rediscover the Outdoors” program website.
Some of the first round of experiences in the auction include a canoe/horse/gondola tour of Banff, a golf vacation in Cape Breton, a canoe trip in Ontario’s Haliburton Highlands, a glamping experience on BC’s Sunshine Coast, even a West Coast fishing trip.
Bidding starts at half the listed value of the experiences, beginning at under $150, and winning bids can’t exceed the posted value of the trip. The first online auctions close this week, and the program runs until the end of October.
Like Buying a Round for Friends and Neighbours
The initial investment infuses immediate cash flow into the heart of the domestic tourism industry, putting money directly into the pockets of the mom-and-pop, local operators: the family, friends, and neighbours who run so many of Canada’s tourism small businesses. Plus, proceeds from the auctions are reinvested back into the program to create more travel experiences, continuing to support Canada's tourism industry.
‘Rediscover the Outdoors’ in Canada program may remind people - or may help them forget - the viral “Corona” memes swirling around social media in the earlier days of the pandemic.
But as an initiative that supports the return to travel and the struggling Canadian tourism and hospitality sector, it feels like a neighbourly, kind and concrete way to support the grassroots of Canada’s travel industry.
And I think we can all toast that.