A five-year tourism strategy that aimed to garner $500 million in tourism revenues for the province by 2015 has now been revised to lower expectations.
The Tourism Advisory Council of P.E.I. released its 2012 annual report this morning at the annual provincial tourism conference, detailing the results of last year’s tourism indicators.
The numbers show the council’s five-year Strategy 2015 has been missing its projected revenue targets for the last two years.
As a result, the Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) has now lowered its goal of reaching $500 million by 2015 to $424 million.
“In the first year, we had a very low percentage of increase. That kind of opened our eyes that maybe we were a bit aggressive,” said Robert Jourdain of TAC.
“In the second year we had an increase, but not big enough again, and the realistic view that $500 (million) was not going to be attainable, so we had to readjust our goals.”
In 2011 – the first year of the strategy – tourism revenues were projected to grow by 3.5 per cent. The actual rate of growth that year was only 0.8 per cent.
Last year, revenues were slightly better with a growth rate of 1.7 per cent, but this fell short of the TAC’s Strategy 2015’s projection of 5.5 per cent growth.
Jourdain said one reason for these losses is due to a major tourism push in the United States that has been diverting summer visitors.
But he also believes government needs to do more, especially in marketing dollars for tourism.
“We would like to see more available funds to spend more money on marketing,” he said.
“We need more money. When you look at what other provinces and how much they have for marketing dollars, we don’t have even near as much as some of them.”
Even though TAC is now lowering its expected growth and revenue rates in order to be more “responsible and realistic,” Jourdain says he believes the strategy remains an aggressive one.
“These are still aggressive targets, but we believe they are more realistic in today’s marketplace,” he said.
TAC is an industry advisory board to the minister of tourism and leads the five-year strategy process.
The Guardian will have more on this story later online today and in print tomorrow. We will also have full coverage of the province's 2013 tourism marketing campaign, which will be launched later today.