A snapshot of the GoMedia Canada homepage, promoting their upcoming meetings in Prince Edward Island.
The P.E.I. government is spending $300,000 to wine and dine a host of travel writers and broadcasters from across the globe next week.
It’s all in an effort to garner international media exposure for the province as a tourism destination.
Prince Edward Island is hosting this year’s GoMedia Marketplace – an annual event that sees journalists and editors from around the world flown into an appointed jurisdiction to meet with hundreds of agents from Canadian destinations and attractions.
The hope is the journalists will be wooed into writing stories, blogs or features that could, in turn, inspire would-be travellers into booking vacations.
Tourism Minister Robert Henderson said hosting this event provides an unparalleled opportunity to showcase P.E.I. to audiences around the world.
“The province of Prince Edward Island could go out and advertise in magazines, we could pay for commercials, we can buy ads in newspapers… but this integrates advertising for P.E.I. into the stories,” Henderson said.
“We think we get better bang for our buck with an initiative like this. There’s more exposure for Prince Edward Island.”
While here, journalists and editors from as far away as Japan, India and Australia will take part in a series of 12-minute meetings with representatives from other tourism destinations and attractions from across Canada. The reps will use their 12 minutes to pitch story ideas and try to convince the media members to feature their products and destinations.
As the host province, P.E.I. is picking up the tab for the travel and accommodations of the 125 media attending this year’s event. Tourism P.E.I. and P.E.I. 2014 Inc. are also hosting two big evening dinner and social events, intended to showcase the province’s culinary and hospitality delights. Tours to attractions across the province are also planned.
The GoMedia Marketplace is an initiative of the Canadian Tourism Commission, a federal Crown corporation mandated to market Canadian tourism. Media attending this event must apply to the commission and only those with the best credentials and greatest audience reach are selected.
“These are very prestigious travel media,” Brenda Gallant, director of marketing and communications for Tourism P.E.I.
“These are very prestigious travel media,” said Brenda Gallant, director of marketing and communications for Tourism P.E.I.
“This event is extremely productive, it’s intense… we’re really focusing on trying to take advantage of every minute that these media are here because they are all top notch media from around the world.”
Officials estimate the overall spinoffs for this event will be in the range of $5 million in ‘media value,’ or the amount it would have cost to place ads in the various publications represented.
The 150 agents from other tourism destinations will also provide economic benefit of approximately $500,000, Gallant said. Their costs are not covered by the province.
The total price tag for P.E.I. for hosting this event is $300,000.
Henderson said he knows the optics of spending this much at a time the province has only a $4-million total tourism marketing budget may be questionable to some, but he is convinced it’s money well-spent.
“You have to wine and dine some of these writers, but when we do that they’re going to have a good time, they’re going to feel good about Prince Edward Island,” Henderson said.
“Yes there may be optics with the general public about the costs, but that’s the business we are in. We have to try to promote Prince Edward Island in a fashion that makes us stand out above other jurisdictions.”
The GoMedia conference officially kicks off on Sunday evening when the delegates will attend an ‘Acadian frolic,’ hosted by the Evangeline Tourism Association. Marketplace meetings will take place at the new convention centre in Charlottetown on Tuesday and Wednesday.