Posted by: Bob Fisher | June 1, 2009

A Local Canadian Initiative … on a National Level

Nancy Greene-Raine, Olympic Gold Medalist and Canadian Senator

Does my “local-national” sound like a contradiction of terms?

Well maybe not; especially if you think in terms of such conceptual and pragmatic issues as exponential growth; economies of scale; the (metaphorical) requirement that it takes a village to raise a child (or nurture a travel and tourism industry); and grassroots thinking — i.e. starting from the bottom up as opposed to the top down.

I mean, if you are looking for a competent plumber, who do you ask? A friend or neighbour right? And looking locally, is often the best way to go because at the community level, people actually interact on many levels that initially may not be apparent. Not only might you develop an enhanced “sense of place,” but you might just develop a personal relationship with the place — and its people.

It’s not just about selling a product; it’s also about interconnectedness and interdependence.

Well, since my posting “The Impending Crisis in the Canadian Tourism Industry,” something both traditional and innovative has come along from The Canadian Tourism Commission, Canada’s national travel and tourism marketing organization.

And the marketing campaign is called “Locals Know.”

Now initially this may sound and look rather self-serving (in a “nationalist” sense), but when I think it through, it seems to me that this is actually a very clever campaign in the sense that it encourages Canadians to become more self-aware.

And even though part of the objective is to “keep tourism dollars at home,” it seems to me that this is also a good training exercise for Canadians to educate themselves to what we have here on our own turf.

However, education is an exponential business.

So… if you “know thyself” first and foremost, which also means developing a renewed sense of self-worth and self-awareness, chances are that you will communicate what you know and what you value to someone else beyond your borders.

Nothing like a little domestic travel to broaden the mind.


Vancouver, BC, June 1, 2009 – Desert-like dunes in the middle of the country. Volcanoes on the verge of the Pacific. Tropic-like waters within hours of vibrant cities. Canada is full of surprises and secrets and, this summer, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is sharing locals’ unknown experiences with fellow Canadians – to inspire them to explore their country.

Today, the CTC, along with Canada’s tourism industry is launching LOCALS KNOW, a national integrated advertising campaign (print, magazine, TV and online) made possible by special stimulus funding from the Government of Canada. The CTC will be investing $10 million per year in the next two fiscal years to support the tourism industry and stimulate Canada’s economy.

“The visitor economy makes a valuable contribution to the economic, social and environmental well-being of Canadians across the country,” says the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism). “Now, more than ever, we want to entice and encourage visitors – including Canadians themselves – to explore our country. I applaud this campaign as it will give Canadians a reason to discover more about their own country and keep tourism dollars at home.”

The 8-week campaign launches today and will focus on the unexpected, encouraging Canadians to seek out new and exotic experiences in places they didn’t know existed. The source of this information? Canadians themselves… because LOCALS KNOW best.

Canadians will be encouraged to upload photos of their favourite Canadian travel spots and great unknown experiences on the CTC campaign website –

“The visuals used in this campaign won’t be typical,” says Michele McKenzie, CTC president and CEO. “People won’t just be seeing the traditional images of our country. They’ll discover a whole new Canada. The imagery, experiences, and deals offered by the industry will surprise Canadians, build pride, and create an urgency to book a trip and see Canada now!”

Almost all provinces and territories, as well as other industry partners both large and small, are participating in this national program.

“The domestic stimulus program is strategic, relevant, and timely for Canada’s tourism industry,” says Denny Kobayashi, Manager of Marketing Operations for Tourism Yukon. “What is particularly appealing about this program is the CTC designed a program for partners from every corner of the country to participate in and receive extraordinary value, national reach and exposure that will benefit tourism in our area”.

Air Canada is introducing a special travel offer for the duration of the campaign to stimulate travel within and across Canada. And one lucky Canadian resident will win 1 million Aeroplan® Miles to inspire them to see undiscovered areas of the country. That’s a lot of Canadian exploring.


Check out the “Locals Know” initiative at

Below are the Canadian tourism marketing partners who are participating in this initiative:

British Columbia






Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Newfoundland and Labrador


Northwest Territories



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