Destination BC wants tourists to dream of visiting later

The province's tourism board creates a spot that's a mix of travel inspiration and public service announcement.
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With Canadians and would-be tourists from other countries avoiding non-essential travel – resulting in what is expected to be a major hit to the tourism industry globally – Destination BC is telling potential travellers to “pause, stay in, and dream of later.”

Last Thursday, the provincial tourism board released a one-minute spot entitled, “Dream of Later,” highlighting the natural beauty and major landmarks of B.C. – but emphasizing that the more people do today to stay indoors today, the sooner they can “return to British Columbia’s natural wonder.” The script is a mix of the aspirational, encouraging people to imagine what they’ll be able to do in British Columbia, but also a public service announcement, telling them to save those dreams for when they are able to do so safely.

Maya Lange, VP of global marketing at Destination BC, says the spot is part of “a series of tactics” the corporation is going to be employing over the next couple of weeks and months to keep potential travellers’ interests, such as sharing stories of those who have previously visited the province.

Lange notes that from the research Destination BC has done over the years, nature is the primary reason people come to visit the province. As with previous campaigns in the “Super, Natural British Columbia” platform, the natural elements of the province are once again the focal point in the new work. The video was developed in partnership with agency 123w using existing footage of British Columbia’s landscapes. The video editing was done by Destination BC’s in-house team, specifically Behr Safi and Shawn Parkinson.

“The whole idea is around what’s at the core of British Columbia and what draws people [here],” Lange tells strategy. “That’s really the key component – getting people to continue to dream of coming to British Columbia, through nature, and things they can do in nature, giving them ideas for things they can do down the road.” Though nature will be the primary focus, the campaign will also be featuring local businesses and other more urban tourism destinations as well.

So during a time when virtually no one is travelling, and the majority of people are being advised not to travel, why does now seem like a good time to launch a tourism-related campaign? When COVID-19 was at its peak mode in China, some people in quarantine were seeking out aspirational and inspirational content on social media – including content about tourism destinations.

“We’re doing the same thing for our other markets, now that we’re in quarantine and in lockdown mode,” Lange says. “That’s not typically an area that we play in – where we’re asking people not to travel. But we thought that would couple well with, ‘these are things that we can do in the future, when the time is right,’ and do it in an emotionally compelling way.”

The target for this campaign is primarily B.C. residents, given that the Easter long weekend is approaching and it will increase the desire for locals to go out and enjoy parks and nature, something the new spot specifically advises against. Lange says the campaign is also being subtitled and translated for the corporation’s international markets as well.

The campaign is currently running on Destination B.C.’s social media channels, as well as YouTube. Lange says they will be potentially running the campaign as a PSA on TV.