Brand USA

Brand USA aims for 100 million visitors by 2021

TORONTO — The past few years have seen a boom in Canadian travel to the U.S., so it’s no surprise this year’s Discover America Day drew a few newcomers eager to make inroads with the Canadian market.

More than two dozen U.S. state and city tourist boards and CVBs – including new exhibitors like Wisconsin – took part in Discover America Day in Toronto, now in its ninth year. Sun destinations like Florida and California were well-represented, as were drive destinations including New York state, New England and Illinois.

While the latest figures show a slight dip in Canadian visitors to the U.S. – July statistics showed a 5% decrease year over year – overall the market is solid.

Overall Canadian travellers enjoy a generally favourable exchange rate in the U.S., however recent small downturns have impacted the drive market especially, with a 6% drop in the number of Canadian travellers driving to the U.S. in July, said Sana Keller, director, Canada for Brand USA.

“While temporarily travel seems soft to the U.S., we encourage everyone to get out there and sell, develop new product and expand product lineups,” she said.

Brand USA is now active in 14 markets worldwide, including Canada with a dedicated office opened earlier this year, and the worldwide goal is 100 million visitors annually to the U.S. by 2021, said Patrice Bell, also director, Canada. Work is underway on a new promotional IMAX film promoting the National Parks with narration by Meryl Streep and scheduled for completion in September 2015.