‘We must build for 2022 and beyond’: Ottawa Tourism boss urges residents to help promote capital
The head of Ottawa’s leading tourism marketing agency says the city needs to do more to promote assets such as its bilingual character and mix of rural and urban landscapes in an effort to attract visitors.
“We know there have been gaps between… how we see ourselves as a community and how others see us,” Michael Crockatt, director of Ottawa Tourism, said Friday morning in a session. Virtual Q&A with Ottawa Chamber of Commerce CEO Sueling Ching.
Crockatt made the remark after Ching noted that Ottawa Tourism has revamped its marketing strategy over the past few years with the help of renowned place branding consultant Frank Cuypers, Senior Strategist with international tourism advisor Destination Think!
Cuypers told the Ottawa Virtual City Building Summit last month that Canada’s capital has an international reputation for being “boring”, saying the city has “great neighborhoods, but nobody knows that. He said the city needs to do a better job of promoting “urban assets” such as the Byward Market if it is to shed its label as a place that lacks vibrancy.
Crockatt said Friday his agency was working to step up its branding game, and he called on every resident to do their part to sell the city to tourists by acting as Ottawa’s “ambassador” on social media.
‘Powerful’ word of mouth
“The brand is about the stories (tourists) share and the memories they have of our community,” he added. “Word of mouth is so powerful right now in terms of how people perceive a destination.”
Crockatt also urged residents of Ottawa to help the city’s tourism industry get back on its feet by booking stays at local hotels and encouraging friends and relatives from out of town to come visit a once it is safe.
Noting that the pandemic is expected to cost Ottawa up to $ 2.6 billion in lost spending for visitors by the end of 2021, Crockatt said the city will be dependent on tourists – especially Toronto, Montreal and d ‘other places accessible by car – to help him. boosts its economy once restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus are lifted.
“We need 2022 to be the most important thing this community has known since (Canada 150).”
He said Ottawa Tourism hopes initiatives such as the Bookmark Ottawa campaign announced earlier this week will trigger a post-pandemic boom as people are fully vaccinated and start traveling again.
“We have to build for 2022 and beyond. We need 2022 to be the most important thing this community has seen since 2017, ”he said, referring to the Canada 150 celebrations in Ottawa which have drawn record numbers of tourists to the region.
Crockatt was speaking at the Mayor’s Breakfast Series, a regular event hosted by OBJ and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.