Tourism industry has become a significant sector in many countries including Canada, not only because it generates foreign revenues to the country, it also boosts the economy by creating jobs and decreasing the unemployment rate. Other benefits contributed by Tourism industry are adding values to cities and its surrounding areas, increasing investment and business activities and developing other industries sectors such as retail, transportation and hospitality. According to Tourism Toronto, there were over 43.7 million people coming to the city last year and spending more than $8.8 billion. (Toursim Toronto, 2017) Since the tourism industry provides many benefits, it is also important to understand the roles of organizations that manage and provide tourism within the country to improve the satisfaction of tourists and stay competitive in the tourism industries.
National Tourist Organizations (NTOs) and their roles
National Tourist Organizations (NTOs) are the official organizations that is responsible for the management of tourism marketing at a national level. They are a crucial advocator of tourism as they manage and plan for its development in a country. According to Mill & Morrison (1998) and So & Morrison (2004), NTOs are known as the most powerful travel promoters for destinations because the perspective of their marketing efforts is at the national level.
Conducting research is a direct responsibility of a NTO. This allows NTOs to identify potential markets, investigate the marketability of the country’s tourist product, develop the market intelligence as well as forecast demand to provide destination information that attracts interested tourists and promotes tourists’ satisfaction of the destination. (Chandra & Menezes, 2001) It is a basic function of NTOs.
Information and Promotion
The activities developed by National Tourist Organizations can be divided into two types: tourist information and tourist promotion. Information and promotion within the country attracts not only the actual international tourist but also, the domestic tourist.
Tourist information is deemed a traditional and passive way to distribute information of destinations to potential tourists. Activities such as brochures, tourism fairs and study tours with foreign journalists or tour operators are frequently used by NTOs. (So, &Morrison, 2004) Moreover, there are information offices located at tourist centers serve as a facility to the tourist, providing important and accurate up-to-date information to tourists visiting various places. These offices are responsible for information and reception service for visitors, influencing tourists’ decisions and implementing different marketing strategies which can improve the image of the destination.
Furthermore, tourist promotion plays a much more active and aggressive role in attracting potential tourists by using consumer-oriented concepts and marketing strategies. Publicity planning and promotion on behalf of the country are among the basic roles common to NTOs. To increase the awareness of tourists, methods of promotion can be advertising, publicity of all kinds, public relations, the provision of information and the distribution of printed sales material, through the main forms of promotion mix. (So, , 2004)
NTOs are also responsible for promoting tourism consciousness among public. Standard regulation and supervision are essential to ensure visitor having a better travel experience. This can be done by regulating and maintaining appropriate standards of quality and other service lodging establishments and travel agents, introducing appropriate legislation of the NTOs. (Verma, 2017)
In addition, NTOs should be responsible for the maintenance of appropriate standards of quality and service of the travel agents as well. Travel agents should be regarded as having professional’s status.
Building international relations is an essential part of tourism industry. International relation building that results from tourism have always been among the most important ways of spreading ideas about different cultures exchange. Tourism can be a connection for international understanding by way of bringing diverse people face to face.
Relation building has been known as a major contributor to develop social and cultural understanding among all people of the world. The interaction of diverse people with the local population of a country travel in between, result in making friends. For example, according to Destination China (2017), the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang have announced 2018 as the Canada-China Year of Tourism. This initiative is building with the intension to create closer ties between Chinese and Canadian citizens. Therefore, it is significant for NTOs to deal with those aspects of tourism development that have a bearing on relations with foreign countries. With this connection, representatives and offices abroad would also get closer relations with foreign travel agents, tour operators and carriers for the promotion of tourism traffic to the country.
Tourism has now become a crucial part of Canada. After reviewing the roles of National Tourist Organizations (NTOs) in the development of tourism industry of Canada, it can be concluded that NTOs are responsible for conducting research, providing information and promotion, regulating standards as well as building relations. National Tourist Organizations (NTOs) definitely play an important role in the development of travel and tourism industry of Canada. They are mobilizing all the potential national forces and resources available for stimulating the growth and development of tourism in the future (Destination Canada, 2017).