Courtesy: Rocky Mountaineer

Courtesy: Rocky Mountaineer

This year’s Canada Media Marketplace, recently held in New York City, had a common theme amongst the Provinces that came to promote Canada’s 150th birthday year: a massive spike in tourism.  You could see it as the Trudeau effect vs. the Trump slump, although Canadians are universally too polite to call it out so specifically.

At the media luncheon at the Grand Hyatt on April 4, Destination Canada’s CEO David F. Goldstein skirted the issue good naturedly but alluded to the comparison.

Since the election of the popular PM, Justin Trudeau, international arrivals increased by 16% in overseas markets and 10% in US markets for an 11% growth across the board. This contrasts with a 6.5 % drop in international flight arrivals to the US after President Donald Trump’s first attempt at a travel ban on visitors from some Muslim majority nations.

Goldstein has said in a release,  “Canada is open, welcoming, and has something for everyone—and people are seeing that. Together with our industry partners, we are encouraging travelers to explore Canada and experience a life less ordinary. I couldn’t think of a better time to visit than right now.”

That theme was echoed by the representative from the Provinces themselves who also told Travel that they considered the big spike in Canadian tourism to have several reasons–all of them beneficial to tourists from the US: a great currency conversion factor, Canada’s impending birthday, perks such as free admission to National Parks and of course, their charismatic Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Not to mention a feel-good Broadway show getting rave reviews, Come From Away, showcasing Atlantic Canada’s hospitality a week after dozens of flights were grounded in Gander, New Foundland when airspace was shut down during the 9/11 attacks.

At Ottawa’s booth, we found out that travelers who are eager for PM sighting might just find him doing yoga with the hundreds of Ottawans who do free yoga on Parliament Hill on Wednesdays in summer.  The city will also be mounting an entire year of major events to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, including a huge fireworks display on Canada Day, July 1.

The Canadian Rockies, a massive tourism draw, are also “on sale” this year with all of the National Parks within the system being free and with the famed Rocky Mountaineer sight-seeing train offering a free night in a Canadian hotel with specific packages.

Stay tuned to Travel With Val for more specifics on travel deals and special events for the big birthday bash.