Public Relations (PR)

Ottawa Tourism

Project: To promote Canada’s capital – and increase visitation – both ahead of and during Canada 150, the country’s 150th anniversary year in 2017.


  • To raise awareness of the packed year of events going on in Canada’s capital city in celebration of Canada 150
  • To send a strong message to UK media and consumers – as well as tour operators and agents – that Ottawa is the place to celebrate Canada 150 in 2017
  • To use the occasion to raise the profile of the destination in general in both the UK consumer and trade media, focusing on our key strengths such as cultural and culinary tourism.

What we did:

    • Axis persuaded Ottawa Tourism to make its debut appearance at World Travel Market, the UK’s flagship annual travel trade event in London, in November 2016. This resulted in an impressive spread of coverage in the travel trade press in addition to TV interviews and five consumer radio broadcasts, providing an excellent showcase ahead of Canada 150
  • Axis arranged a May 2016 press trip to Ottawa, attended by The Sun & OK! Magazine, and a December 2016 trip attended by The Express and Press & Journal newspapers
  • Following on from the above Axis approached Air Canada, which usually doesn’t support group press trips, and persuaded it to sponsor a press trip around this year’s Winterlude festival in the city (February 2–6) which was attended by a selection of the main national newspapers in the UK, namely Trinity Mirror, The i newspaper, Sunday Mail, Daily Mirror.
  • Attended TravMedia’s International Media Marketplace event ( in London on March 13 AXTM and set up a programme of 19 meetings with key media throughout the day in addition to fielding walk-up enquiries
  • AXTM continues to engage in regular social activity including Tweets on key subjects related to Canada 150 such as flagging up major events taking place in Ottawa throughout 2017
  • Future activities include a big splash around Canada Day on July 1 2017, with planned promotional activity to include food drop offs for UK media and tour ops.

Key challenges:

  • UK visitors visiting Canada traditionally tend to gravitate towards rival cities such as Toronto and Vancouver
  • As events to celebrate Canada 150 are taking place across the country competition for interest is strong from rival destinations across the country.

Results achieved:

  • The Air Canada sponsored press trip in February 2017 alone had generated 15 separate articles as of March 10 2017, with a combined media value of more than £350k, with more to come
  • Our targeted efforts aimed at the UK travel trade media resulted in extensive coverage of Canada 150 celebrations in Ottawa in 2016 and 2017 across all the main outlets
  • While the focus of the project is ongoing, and results are hard to quantify, Canada itself attracted 19.98m visitors in 2016 – its best figure in 14 years. This included 833,329 British visitors, a 17% increase year on year. Harnessing the legacy of Canada 150 to increase the capital’s slice of this rising visitation will remain a key focus for both Ottawa and Axis in the years ahead.

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