NewsTravel

How to tap into Canada’s travel market? An expert let’s the cat out of the bag

Canada has a large and diverse population of over 38 million people, with a high disposable income and a strong interest in travel.

THURSDAY February 29, 2024

A lion waylays its prey at Ruaha National Park in the Tanzania’s southern tourism circuit. PHOTO | EDMUND SALAHO

By Adam Ihucha

The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

Canada is a sleeping giant in the travel and tourism industry, with a huge potential for destination Tanzania.

But how can local tour operators attract more tourists from the world’s second largest country and North America in general?

Ms Maureen Moore, a Canadian communications expert and founder of Catalyste+, recently answered the question in a two-week training session for members of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) in Arusha, Tanzania.

Catatlyste+ is a Canadian economic development organisation that builds capacity to businesses globally in a bid to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

According to Ms Moore, Canada is, indeed, a lucrative market for Tanzania for several reasons. Canada has a large and diverse population of over 38 million people, with a high disposable income and a strong interest in travel.

Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) CEO Sirili Akko (Right) gives Ms Maureen Moore, a Canadian communications expert and founder of Catalyste+, a mineral water bottle and a Maasai shuka, among other souvenirs. PHOTO PATTY MAGUBIRA

In addition, Canada has a long and cold winter that makes many Canadians look for warmer and sunnier destinations.

“Last, but not least, Canadians have a positive perception of Tanzania as a country with rich natural and cultural heritage, friendly people, and political stability,” Ms Moore explained.

One of the most effective ways of penetrating the Canadian market, Ms Moore whispered to the TATO members, was to develop partnerships with Canadian tour operators who already have established networks and customer bases in the country.

She advised the local tour operators to attend tourism trade fairs, such as the Toronto Travel and Vacation Show, to showcase their products and services, and meet potential partners and clients.

Ms Moore also suggested that the local tour operators should use online platforms, such as the Canada Travel Trade Network, to connect with Canadian travel agents and tour operators and exchange information and opportunities.

Zebras are a component of the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park in East Africa which takes place every year, involving millions of wildebeests, zebras and other antelopes, travelling 500 miles across Tanzania and Kenya, through the Serengeti, Maasai Mara Game Reserve and Ngoro Crater. PHOTO | SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK SAFARIS

Another key segment she identified as having a high growth potential in the post-pandemic period is the solo women travelers.

Women traveling alone had become the fastest growing segment of tourists in Canada, with a 200 per cent increase in the last five years.

She attributed the trend to the rising number of single women as well as their financial independence and empowerment.

“Solo women travelers are looking for safety, price, and hygiene, as well as authentic and meaningful experiences, when choosing their destinations.

“I would advise the local tour operators to tailor their packages and marketing strategies to meet these needs and preferences,” Ms Moore, opined.

In a nutshell, boxes against which the Canadian solo women travelers ensure are not ticked for them to visit a destination include domestic violence, female homicide, safety index score, safest to walk at night, best attitude, hostile laws, and gender equality.

Canadian solo women travellers are looking for safety, price, and hygiene, as well as authentic and meaningful experiences, when choosing their destinations,” Ms Maureen Moore, a Canadian communications expert and founder of Catalyste+.

The elderly was another portion that should not be overlooked, as they represent a large and growing proportion of the Canadian population, with more than 20 per cent being over 65-year old.

Ms Moore said the elderly were also avid travelers with more time and money to spend on travel and that they longed for adventure, learning, and wellness.

“Tanzania tour operators need to develop products and services that cater for physical and mental well-being of the elderly, such as accessible transportation, accommodation, and attractions, as well as cultural and educational activities,” she explained.

Ms Moore provided the local tour operators with communication skills, such as writing and responding to e-mails appropriately to enhance their professionalism and customer service.

To her, communication being a key factor in building trust and rapport with potential and existing clients should be clear, concise, and courteous.

Among the Canadian travellers groups that partake in travelling more than the rest, especially during the winter, is the seniors’ one, popularly known  as ‘snowbirds’ in the country. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

She cited examples of writing effective e-mails, including using a subject line to summarise the main purpose of the e-mail, a salutation and a signature, proper grammar and spelling, and providing relevant and accurate information.

Catalyste+ carried out the Canadian government funded training session in partnership with TATO, a 41-year-old lobbying and advocacy agency for the multi-billion-dollar tourism industry in Tanzania with more than 300 members across the country.

The TATO Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sirili Akko, thanked Ms Moore and the Canadian government for their valuable contribution and cooperation, expressing his hope that the training session would lead to more business opportunities and partnerships between Tanzania and Canada.

Mr Akko said his organisation represented a collective voice for private tour operators towards the common goal of improving the business climate in Tanzania.

“TATO also provides unparalleled networking opportunities for its members, allowing individual tour operators or companies to connect with their peers, mentors, other industry captains and policy makers,” Mr Akko explained.

Tanzania is home to number one safari destination globally, housing four of the most coveted adventure sub-destinations on earth, namely the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Ngorongoro CraterΩ

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