California Set On Wooing Canadian Travel Trade

with Jovana Arnaut

Jennifer Sweeney, Visit California

California wine

My favourite Cali rep, Laurie Armstrong, from my favourite Cali destination: San Francisco

California is pulling out all the stops in order to get more attention from the Canadian travel trade.

The Golden State recently hosted an event with 22 of its destination reps and authentic wine from its vineyards. They focused on what's new and what's coming up but the show stopping announcement was when they said that they are going to increase their engagement and collaboration with the Canadian travel trade.

“Canadian travel agents are important to us and that is what we're focusing on a lot this year. We are working on building our partnerships with the trade and our investment will extend throughout Canada," said Jennifer Sweeney, Manager, Visit California.

Some of the ways Visit California plans on extending its reach in Canada is by partnering with Canadian airlines for consumer and trade cooperative programs; establishing new trade partnerships with mainstream and niche operators; hosting a Club California-style live training event in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver; creating French-language materials for the trade to use in the Quebec market and increasing FAM trips - I think these are great ways to woo someone.

“We are also promoting the California Expert Program to ensure that travel agents are comfortable and up to date with the destination and can get out there and sell it to their clients," Sweeney said.

In 2014, there were approximately 1.6 million Canadian visitors to California – up 4.4% from the previous year, but, the destination wants more. According to Visit California's market strategy, with the consolidation by Air Canada to Air Canada rouge on select California routes, capacity to the state has increased “dramatically," so, it's safe to assume that visitor growth is likely to happen again for 2015.

Currently, AC offers more than 160 weekly, non-stop flights to cities in California from Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. And, WS operates more than 70 flights weekly from Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto.

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