Following three years of promoting Saskatchewan tourism to the Prairies provinces, Tourism Saskatchewan is shifting some emphasis to what it calls export tourism.
Ninety per cent of tourists come from the three Prairie provinces with an average spend of $98 a day.
Offshore tourists spend considerably more but they expect to buy packages like a planned Indigenous culture tour.
First though, Tourism Saskatchewan is looking at what aspects of tourism need improvements.
A study of online conversations about tourism, seeing what people thought of us and comparing Saskatchewan with Alberta, Manitoba, Yukon New Brunswick and Ontario, was revealing.
For the most part Saskatchewan was average when people talked about tourism.
“Nobody wants to be average,” Jonathon Potts, Tourism Saskatchewan marketing director told the 49x110 tourism conference in Swift Current.
Thirty-three per cent of conversations were positive; four per cent were negative; with 67 per cent passive.
Hunting, snowmobiling/winter sports and natural attractions scored the highest.
Good scores came for festivals and events “something Saskatchewan does very well with big and small stuff.”
Spectator sports rated well depending on how the Roughriders did.
Architecture, culture and history did “not too bad “and relaxation and rest — spas at Moose Jaw and Watrous — did quite well as did shopping.
Not performing well were food and culinary, amenities, museums and public galleries and entertainment, breweries and pubs.
Distilleries scored much better than breweries.
Lowest score of all was access and transportation with poor flight connections and highways issues.
Tourism Saskatchewan and the industry have work to do on these aspects, said Potts.
“We can do better. If we’re not in the game of changing purchase decisions we’re not going to develop . . . we have to build influence.”
Ron Walter can be reached at email@example.com