The ninth annual Discover America Day took place yesterday in Toronto, joined by 30 tourism delegates from across the United States.
Each year, the event plays host to local media as they meet one-on-one with various U.S. representatives who introduce them to various story ideas and enlighten attendees to what's new with their destination or product.
Brand USA, St. Petersburg Clearwater, Atlantic City, Air Canada and Via Rail were among the main sponsors.
"It's a good news story that Canada continues to be number one in visitation in spend and in trade," said Sana Keller, president of Discover America Canada.
Scott Renner, new consular section chief at the U.S. Consulate based in Toronto, took the opportunity to introduce himself as well, having only taken on the post about a month ago. He pointed out the importance of such an event in showcasing the breadth of U.S. tourism product, while mentioning the upcoming IPW conference set for May 30 - June 5, 2015 in Orlando.
Following a morning of appointments in a speed-dating style format, participants were given a brief overview of the tourism climate to the U.S. from Canada for 2014.
A spring forecast puts tourism numbers this year up two per cent, but a decline of 5.3 per cent for the month of July means that target may not be reached; in fact, arrivals are now trending down one per cent. That said, August numbers will not be reported until mid-October which could change things, as August is the top month for visitor volume.
Overall, the outlook remains positive, Keller said, noting: "David Redekop of the Conference Board of Canada still predicts that Canada is entering that 'sweet spot' of age-income demographics conducive to outbound travel, thus they expect outbound travel from Canada to remain strong for a decade, as this demo enters and passes through this 'sweet spot'."
Stay tuned to PAX tomorrow for updates from specific suppliers who were on-hand at yesterday's event.