Islanders to be centre of attention for Tourism P.E.I. marketing campaign

Tourists from all over the world flock to P.E.I.’s red shores every summer, but because of COVID-19, that likely won’t be the case this year.

In an effort to bridge the gap caused by a lack of tourists, the province is shifting from its traditional marketing campaign and will instead look to attract Islanders to activities and events on P.E.I.

Brenda Gallant, director of marketing with Tourism P.E.I., says a typical tourism season will bring more than one million visitors. Islanders alone can’t provide the same traffic and influx of tourism dollars.

“It’s a very, very difficult year especially for tourism and we want to ensure that we do as much as we can to help the tourism industry,” Gallant said.

“Recognizing that we’re never going to get anywhere near the record years that we’ve been experiencing the last number of years.”

As Islanders, sometimes we don’t recognize what’s in our own backyard.— Brenda Gallant, Tourism P.E.I.

Tourism P.E.I. issued a request for proposals last week that involves developing an inventory of what will be open and available, and making that information easily accessible to Islanders.

‘Looking at our markets’

With the exception of advertising in some television programming, Gallant said about 96 per cent of Tourism P.E.I.’s original campaign is not running. 

“Because shows still go ahead, we thought it wouldn’t really make sense to pull the advertising,” she said. “Top Chef is one and the other is on the French network, with Anne with an E.” 

Brenda Gallant, director of marketing with Tourism P.E.I., says a big part of this year’s tourism initiatives will be developing an inventory of what will be open and available for Islanders. (Al MacCormick/CBC)

In adjusting to the new circumstances, Gallant said Tourism P.E.I. will be looking to ensure that operators that do choose to open will have Islanders stopping by.

“As Islanders, sometimes we don’t recognize what’s in our own backyard,” she said.

Gallant said when borders reopen, the Island will be ready with a campaign for off-Island tourists, but right now the challenge is figuring out when that may be.

“We don’t know when borders will open, not just our own but, you know, you have to look at New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec. It’s really looking at our markets and when they will be able to travel as well,” she said. 

“Certainly not your regular tourism year, that’s for sure.” 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.

  • Cough.

  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.

  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

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