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Tourism campaign launched on the back of recent success
Telegraph-Journal
Colin McPhail 

January 26, 2016

SAINT JOHN - On the heels of two straight years of growth in the local tourism sector, the Saint John Hotel Association is rebooting a marketing campaign to create further awareness and appreciation of the Port City and the surrounding area.

Paulette Hicks, president of the association, said they plan to build on the momentum sustained over the past two years in an effort to stimulate the local economy through a sector that generates upwards of $250 million annually.

The “We All Win With Tourism” campaign, established four years ago, presented what Saint John has to offer and why tourism should be considered an economic driver through success stories told by local“ambassadors.”

“Renewing the 2012 campaign is a great way to remind out community of the benefits of tourism,” said Hicks. “The Fundy Region saw success in several areas of the tourism sector, and we have a fresh group of local ambassadors whose stories we are excited to share.”

Those ambassadors include Mike Lyon of North Market Seafood, Debbie Rathwell of Red Sales Consulting and Event Planning, Gaye Ann Walsh of Walsh Luggage, Gilliane Nadeau of Uncorked Tours and Andy McLean of the East Coast Music Association.

The campaign will run for a month with a social media component, radio promotions and grassroots strategies, like a 14-pane window mural in the Canada Games Aquatic Centre pedway or a night-time projection of the brand on the Hilton Hotel along the waterfront.

“We really want people to recognize that this drives revenue,” said Hicks in an interview on Wednesday.

“This is new money that comes into your community, and I think people have to have a better understanding and maybe we need to tell our story better.”

She said on average overnight visitors spend about $260 per trip, while day trip visitors spend about $100.

Saint John receives more than 1.5 million visitors each year – 45 per cent of which stay one or more nights.

Last year, the city saw five consecutive months of year-over-year occupancy growth by an average of 12.7 per cent, according to the hotel association.

Data reported by STR, Inc., a global authority on hotel industry performance, showed during that time Saint John posted the first back-to-back months with occupancy rates higher than 70 per cent since 2010.

There was plenty of positive indicators in 2014 as well. The city had the fourth best annual occupancy rate of the 26 tourist regions east of Montreal and saw 268,000 out-of-province Canadians visit – an all-time high.

Part of the reasoning for the recent success is the plunging Canadian dollar, which dipped below 70 cents last week.

As the weak loonie creates losses in other sectors, Hicks said it helped spur gains for the tourism industry – so much so that destination marketing agents in the city are strategically targeting the American public.

“We know the U.S. are going to come, and we saw that in the latter part of 2015,” Hicks said, who is the general manager of the Delta Brunswick Hotel.

The low dollar also aided in bringing New Brunswickers and other Canadians who opt for a cheaper vacation staying in the country, she said.

Hicks said Saint John’s strengths lie in its diverse tourism attractions. The charming streets of uptown Saint John and the city’s deep historical roots contrast nicely with nearby nature attractions, including the Bay of Fundy.

The city is relies on year-round tourism rather than focusing solely on the summer months, she said. Conferences, sport tourism and a cruise season that stretches well into fall lengthen what would be a conventional tourism time-line.

“I think Saint John is positioned well to be a serious player in tourism,” said Hicks.

“These are amenities that not just anybody could offer.”

Selling Saint John as an ideal host for conferences and major events is a key aspect of the strategy developed by local tourism stakeholders. Hicks said the city is locked into hosting events up until 2022, as the salespeople work on bids up until 2025.

Among the upcoming events is the 2017 East Cost Music Week. Andy Mc-Lean, one of the campaign ambassadors and the East Coast Music Awards executive director, said 13,000 people are expected to visit the city in April of 2015, spurring about $3.1 million in economic activity.

“Between the great facilities, the community’s excitement and the immediate support we’ve received – this city has the whole package,”McLean said in a press release.

“The event will welcome industry professionals and artists from all over the world, including delegates and talent buyers from as far away as Australia.”

Hicks said they timing of the campaign roll out is to ride the wave of recent success after analyzing the 2015 industry results.

”It became clear that the industry is seeing real momentum and that is fore-casted to continue in 2016,” she said. “So we wanted to share that good news with the community and start 2016 off with a bang.”

 

 

Saint John tourism industry gaining momentum
Saint John Hotel Association renews campaign to highlight economic benefits of tourism

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Saint John’s tourism industry has shown steady growth over the past year, continuing to be a local economic pillar by bringing more than 1.5 million visitors to the city and generating close to $250 million every year.

“Saint John’s occupancy rate showed positive growth throughout 2015, which creates new revenue for our city,” said Paulette Hicks, President of the Saint John Hotel Association (SJHA). “The increased spending causes a great ripple effect for local businesses because the longer people stay here, the more they spend. Overnight visitors spend about $260 and the average day trip visitor spends roughly $100.”

2015 saw five consecutive months of year-over-year occupancy growth by an average 12.7 per cent. Previously in 2014, Saint John had the fourth best annual occupancy rate out of 26 tourist regions east of Montreal, recorded an all-time high of 268,000 out-of-province Canadian visitors and posted an increase in overnight visitors of 4.6 per cent. In fact, of the city’s 1.5 million total visitors, 45 per cent stayed one or more nights.

Building on the positive industry performance indicators released to date, the SJHA today launched a revitalized version of their award-winning We All Win With Tourism campaign, to grow local awareness, knowledge and appreciation for the value of tourism to Saint John.

"Renewing the 2012 campaign is a great way to remind our community of the benefits of tourism,” said Hicks, who is also General Manager of Delta Brunswick and the Brunswick Square Complex. “The Fundy Region saw success in several areas of the tourism sector, and we have a fresh group of local ambassadors whose stories we are excited to share."

As an industry that employs one in 10 Fundy region residents, the campaign will highlight stories from five “ambassadors” who have seen first-hand how tourism generates economic activity for Saint John. This year’s ambassadors include Mike Lyon (North Market Seafood), Debbie Rathwell (Red Sales Consulting & Event Planning), Gaye Ann Walsh (Walsh Luggage), Gilliane Nadeau (Uncorked Tours), and Andy McLean (East Coast Music Association).

“Between the great facilities, the community’s excitement and the immediate support we’ve received – this city has the whole package,” said Andy McLean, ECMA Executive Director, as he elaborated on why Saint John was named host city for the 2017 East Coast Music Week. “The event will welcome industry professionals and artists from all over the world, including delegates and talent buyers from as far away as Australia.” It is expected that over 13,000 people will descend on Saint John for East Coast Music Week, set for April 2017, generating roughly $3.1 million for the local economy.

This year, a number of unique events are coming to Saint John for the first time. They include a world-wide choir festival, the Fundy Sound Festival; Atlantic Emergency Services Games, an inaugural event for Emergency Employees of Atlantic Canada; and an Eastern Canadian karate event, the Chito Ryu Canada International Bogu Tournament – attracting hundreds of visitors from across the globe.

The We All Win With Tourism campaign will run for the next month, including social media outreach, radio promotions and several unique grassroots tactics, such as a 14-pane window mural in the Aquatic Centre pedway and a night-time projection of the campaign identity on the Hilton Hotel. To learn more, visit www.WinWithTourismSJ.com.

About the Saint John Hotel Association (SJHA):

The Saint John Hotel Association was formed in 2007 and is a member-driven association, representing 10 members and 997 guest rooms in the Saint John area. It was established in 2007 to implement the voluntary legislation to collect a 3% Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) and be a catalyst in the formation of the public-private Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). The Association’s current priorities are to engage the community and build excitement about the value of tourism, contribute to the growth of the tourism sector and to grow tourism revenue in Saint John and the province overall.

For more information, please contact:

Lesley Dickson
Revolution Strategy
lesley.dickson@revolutionstrategy.com
506-646-9968
506-333-0519