Canadian travel visa issues deterring tourists from visiting Northern Lights: Michael Ewen

Published on : Friday, December 29, 2017

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Michael Ewen, President and CEO, Extreme Adventures Canada interacts with Travel And Tour World at the Chengdu International Tourism Expo (CITE) 2017, Chengdu, China. He enlightens us about the growth potential of the Canadian tourism industry as well as Extreme Adventures. Alongside it, he also speaks about a few growth challenges.



Travel And Tour World: ‘Canada 150’ being an interesting event in Canada, how do you think it might impact domestic and international tourist arrival to the country?


Michael Ewen: With our 150th anniversary this year, we have had a lot of people visiting Canada internationally and I think as tourist perspective such an event is really interesting. People come here with a general interest about the nation, but ‘Canada 150’ has sparked a renewed interest in tourism here as people have a chance to visit parts of the country they have never explored before.



Travel And Tour World: What are the special winter activities offered to tourists for Christmas 2017, as part of Extreme Adventures Canada?


Michael Ewen: In the evening we primarily offer quite a lot of viewing activities. We have Yellowknife that is one of the best places of the planet to view the Northern Lights. We also offer live entertainment options, quality food, music facilities and we make sure people enjoy themselves once they arrive here.



Travel And Tour World: What make your travel packages special in terms of promoting the Northern Lights?


Michael Ewen: We offer several on-site activities as well as a lot of daytime activities.


For instance we have some great food and dining facilities and an awesome environment. Furthermore we have daytime activities like snow building ones, dog sliding, ice fishing so we are able toke keep people occupied. Every evening we have small services, looking forward to attract about 200 or 400 people at night. And also, we try to keep people separated while they are engaged in these activities, so they can really enjoy some uninterrupted views of the eye soothing ambiance of our environment. So our tours are very exclusive for all kinds of travellers.



Travel And Tour World: How do you plan to make LGBT travellers interested in this destination?


Michael Ewen: That is not something we have really focused on but everyone is welcome to be a part of our travel packages, as Canada is very liberal and has been opening up to change considerably over the last 200 years. They will feel as if they are part of a large family when they come and join us.



Travel And Tour World: What are the main growth challenges?


Michael Ewen: One of the biggest challenges we have had is with clients claiming that they have been confronting with issues in terms of traveller visas.


In fact this is something we tried to do a lot of campaigns with an aim to persuade our government to make the visa issuing process easier. After all, we do find quite often that many tourists call off their package bookings with us later, because their travel visas have not been approved.


Therefore, that is a very great challenge.  We have been working with our embassies to make sure that the visas are processed much quicker while following the prescribed rule of law at the same time, so as to make it more convenient for tourists to visit Canada.



Travel And Tour World: Do you think Trump travel ban has its impact felt on your business and Canadian travel industry as a whole?


Michael Ewen: I have just learnt about the travel ban a few minutes ago. And whenever I hear something like this it concerns me because, whenever the US does something, Canada follows suit. Frankly this is something I am a bit concerned about and do not want to look myself into.


Travel And Tour World: How according to you, can Canada achieve the goal of responsible tourism management?


Michael Ewen: Canada can achieve this goal by ensuring that tourists are offered the most superior quality through our the local associations and tour operators.


They should be more involved so that the products being offered are world-class and all our efforts should be directed towards achieving this goal!  This will make sure that people coming to Canada would leave with a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and it is something our tour associations around the country need to strive towards.



Travel And Tour World: How has CITE 2017 benefitting you achieving your goals?


Michael Ewen: This is our second year at this event. Last year we had made some important contacts that helped us grow in Beijing and this year again we have been receiving more interest, particularly in our Northern Lights. Fortunately, we have seen new interest sparked here. This has given us an opportunity to get known on a global scale by raising awareness about our product.


Travel And Tour World: How many Chinese tourists have been visiting Canada of late?


Michael Ewen: Well I am not too certain about entire part of Canada in this aspect.


But, at Extreme Adventures Canada we did have 7,000 Chinese tourists in Yellowknife last year. And the numbers are continuing to grow. Recently the Japanese market has been involved in viewing Northern Lights, but then the  Chinese market is steadily taking over and growing faster as compared to the Japanese market.


And I hope we can make our processes more streamlined if the procedure of travel visa issuing is made simpler in Canada so we can then get more clients.



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