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Travel trade enjoys a rendezvous in Edmonton

Travel trade enjoys a rendezvous in Edmonton

Destinations, cities, regions and providers of tourism experiences from across Canada descended on Edmonton, Alberta, in mid-May (13-16) in a show of force that illustrated the country’s travel sector is now well placed to accelerate away from the damage caused by Covid.

Rendez-vous Canada (RVC), Canada’s signature annual tourism marketplace that has been running for 48 years, is a showcase of what’s new in tourism trends and offerings across the country.

The show, which this year was a collaboration between Destination Canada, Explore Edmonton, Travel Alberta and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), attracted 400 buyers and media from Destination Canada’s key markets – the UK, U.S., Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and South Korea.

They met with over 900 tourism industry delegates representing more than 482 Canadian organisations. 

“The connections made here in Edmonton are invaluable, driving economic growth and enriching communities across Canada… tourism significantly enhances lives and communities nationwide. As travel demand surges, RVC plays a critical role in our industry’s growth. Together, we can seize this moment and achieve remarkable success,” said Beth Potter, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

At a ‘focus on key markets’ presentation, it was revealed that UK travellers are turning to travel agents and tour operators for guidance and expertise, with almost 75% of high-value guests using them when booking travel to Canada. They are also enquiring more about premium products and trips that “have a positive impact on people and the planet”.

It is estimated that tourism spend and visitation levels out of the UK will recover to 2019 levels in 2025.

RVC delegates were offered a range of day tours that gave them the opportunity to see some of the Edmonton area’s main visitor attractions.

Among there were walking tours of the city (including one accompanied by a ‘food host’); sampling Indigenous flavours at Pei Pei Chei Ow, a ‘food and education company’ owned by a Cree chef; navigating the city’s river valley (the longest in North America) by kayak, Segway and bicycle; visiting the Aga Khan Garden (the world’s northernmost Islamic garden); and a trip out to Elk Island National Park, where attendees got a behind-the-scenes look at plains bison conservation efforts. 

They were also treated to a sun-kissed opening event on the patio of the Fairmont Hotel McDonald and morning show ‘kick offs’ at the convention centre that included an Indigenous performance by the Edmonton Métis Cultural Dancers.

RVC visitors enjoyed the ‘buzz’ of a city enthralled by the progress of its ‘Oilers’ ice hockey team, who were involved in play-off games of the Stanley Cup, North America’s premier professional competition for the sport.

Next year’s RVC will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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