Canada gets tourism out of the woods

However, with increasing numbers of Americans choosing to stay home rather than risk terrorist attacks abroad, and with Expo ’86 in Vancouver already shaping up as a major tourist draw, Canada clearly would be a logical vacation spot–if only it could somehow transform its image from dull to dazzling.

Enter the combined forces of market research and advertising and a $20 million ($14.4 million U.S.) campaign to jazz up Canada’s public persona. Out went the moose and the mountains and in came the nightclubs, Broadway-type theaters, Old World architecture, French cities and sports opportunities.

As the first step in overhauling Canada’s image, Tourism Canada hired a Toronto research group to conduct a survey of the U.S. market. What resulted was 9,000 hour-long, in-home interviews that produced the not surprising conclusion that there was a general perception of Canada as clean, safe and dull, with immense stretches of wilderness broken up by cities that closed down at 5 p.m.

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