© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Gregory Gerault, Editions Lariviere, France, speaks with Andrew Hiscock, EDMO Newfoundland, at the 10h annual GoMedia Canada Marketplace — Canada's premier international travel media event, held this year at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel Tuesday.
Representatives from 150 destinations and attractions from across Canada are ‘speed dating’ this week at the new convention centre in Charlottetown.
It’s all part of the GoMedia Marketplace – an annual event that pairs travel editors, writers and broadcasters from around the globe with delegates from tourism destinations from across Canada.
The speed daters have 12 minutes to convince an internationally syndicated journalist to write a splashy, colourful feature that would entice tourists to book vacations in their province.
In a forum reminiscent of speed-dating, two days are filled with a series of 12-minute meetings that allow tourism officials to pitch story ideas to the journalists and try to convince them to feature their products and destinations in future articles.
Brenda Gallant, director of marketing and communications for Tourism P.E.I., is heading up Prince Edward Island’s ‘speed-date’ tourism meetings.
She said she has a variety of angles to try to sell the journalists on the many tourism and culinary offerings in P.E.I.
“It really depends on the media person you’re speaking with because, maybe you’ll be talking with someone with a strong focus on culinary in one meeting and someone with a totally different focus in another,” Gallant said.
“There’s not one specific pitch, the most important part is that you tailor your message to the media that you’re speaking with.”
Before arriving for the conference, media are given a list of the tourism destinations and attractions who have representatives available to meet with. They choose from the list those whom they would most like to meet with, while the tourism officials also select which media they would like to meet. The 12-minute sessions are then scheduled based on the compatibility of the two sides’ requests and the available time.
It’s a whirlwind of pitches, networking and card-swapping.
Gregory Gérault is a photographer and travel writer from Paris who contributes to a wide variety of French and international publications.
He is in P.E.I. for the GoMedia Marketplace.
Gérault said he thought the meetings would feel rushed, which is not something Europeans prefer.
“You know, we’re not American,” he joked.
“But in fact it was very nice and I think it will be very useful because I have a lot of projects in Canada next year and I’ve found very good contacts here since I’ve arrived so I’m very happy to be here.”
Prince Edward Island tourism officials are hoping to get a special boost in media coverage as a result of hosting the event and picking up the tab for all 125 journalists attending the week’s activities.
In Gérault’s case, this has already worked. He says he plans to come back to the Island next year for a feature on an aspect of P.E.I.’s fishery.
Gallant says she has heard nothing but positive comments since the participants first arrived. She has no doubt this will be a boost to P.E.I.’s profile on the international tourism stage.
“Usually at these things, you have to start your meeting by pulling out a map and showing them where P.E.I. is. Now they’re here and they see all we have to offer. It’s really exciting.”