Wilderness not the draw we thought

OTTAWA (CP) – Americans are not as thrilled with our moose and mounties as the Canadian tourism industry once thought and that means a whole new marketing strategy is needed to lure them north on holidays, say Tourism Minister Jack Murta.

“They are not as taken up with our wilderness experience, you know the Rockies and the mountains and all this, as we had once thought,” Murta said in an interview this week.

These findings – the results of a study based on 9,000 in-home interviews with Americans – will be available to tourism industry members starting today when a huge computer database full of market information is unveiled at a federal tourism conference.

Murta said the database represents the first time people have had access to such a huge source of tourism information and it will help the $20-billion-a-year industry grow. More than 600,000 people are directly employed in about 60,000 tourism businesses, most of them small, in Canada.

He said the results of the U.S. pleasure travel study show some of the old assumptions Canadians have had about their country’s attractions have been wrong.

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