TORONTO – Lured by a weak Canadian dollar, an advertising campaign and fear of terrorism abroad, vacationing Americans are flocking to Canada. If the trend continues, this will be a record year for Canadian tourism.
In the first three months, 1.3 million Americans visited Canada and stayed more than one night, an increase of 16 percent over the same period last year. And now the real tourist season is only beginning.
To draw more American visitors, the government has launched a $20 million advertising campaign with a difference. Instead of promoting Canada as the Great White North, the land of moose, mountains and Mounties – it stresses the country’s diversity. Rather than beaches and sunsets, it features neon lights, cabarets and rock music. There are cobbled streets, British redcoats, French Bistros and Old World architecture.
The government changed its appeal when surveys in the United States indicated most Americans thought of Canada only in terms of wildlife and wilderness. The polls suggested they like Canada but found it boring. They weren’t interested in coming to see its natural beauty, which they ahve at home, preferring to tour cities and experience something new.