When it comes to tourism promotion, Prince Edward Island should take a page from Newfoundland and Labrador’s books.
Since 2006, Canada’s traditionally maligned - turned much celebrated – province has been running the “Find Yourself Here” marketing campaign.
It’s beautiful, and it’s attracting people in droves to a place that is not a traditionally tourist heavy area.
According to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, non-residential visitation increased 22 per cent between 2006 and 2010.
The province even topped 504,000 visitors in 2012.
In fact, numbers are up across the board for Newfoundland and Labrador; including traffic through St. John’s International Airport, cruise ship visitors and tourism spending – which we might add passed $1 billion in 2011.
Here’s that number again in case you missed it – $ 1 Billion dollars.
Mind you that’s $424.4 million from tourists and $580 million from residents of the province – but it’s still a huge dollar figure.
Which brings us to the television commercials.
The quality of those ads, coupled with a hefty marketing budget from the provincial government, is being credited with putting Newfoundland and Labrador on the itinerary of tourists.
P.E.I. could do something similar.
We don’t have to run out and hire St. John’s based Target Marketing, the creators of the “Find Yourself Here” campaign, but could we strive to match the high quality of its productions?
Watching the videos from Newfoundland and Labrador it’s like every scene, every frame, is a painting.
A little boy sitting on a punt as a dozen men roll it down a slip into a picturesque bay.
Two elderly ladies laughing over a cup of tea, a window between them shows a lovely village with rolling scenery.
Children playing amongst a recreation of a Viking settlement.
A man, on a boat, staring up at a towering cliff with countless sea birds whirling away over head.
Each scene is several seconds long and interconnected with an overall theme for each commercial.
A deeply baritone voiceover on all these commercials welcomes visitors to various experiences.
In contrast, a Google search for “P.E.I. tourism commercials” reveals a dated video that pales in comparison.
One video on the Tourism P.E.I. website, labeled as “television commercial on NBC – Royal Vacation,” is full of beautiful island scenery – but you barely get a chance to notice it.
The video was shot from the air, so the viewer is really far away from whatever they’re supposed to be looking at, and all the scenes literally fly by within a couple of seconds.
It’s pretty. But it’s not memorable.
The Island deserves better.
Whoever shoots the next television commercial for this province should drop the aerial views and come back down to earth to tell some stories – it’s beautiful down here.