Tourism in Clearwater and Wells Gray Park is a bit of an anomaly, according to consultant Jennifer Houiellebecq.
Tourists from Germany account for about one per cent of the visitors to B.C. Those from the Netherlands add another one per cent.
However, according to Wells Gray Park campground operator Merlin Blackwell, tourists from Germany and the Netherlands account for about half of his business.
Part of that is because visitors from Europe spend more per day, on average, than some others, said Houiellebecq.
On the other hand, statistics from Wells Gray Infocenter show clearly that this area attracts the highest proportion of European visitors of any area in the province.
“I wish I knew why that is,” she said. “I don’t think anyone really does.”
Houiellebecq played a major role in drafting a tourism strategy for the Clearwater-Wells Gray area several years ago. She was back in town last Tuesday to take part in a workshop to update the plan. A number of local tourism operators and other interested individuals took part in the workshop, which was organized by Brad Bradford, tourism and marketing manager with Tourism Wells Gray.
The Canadian Tourism Commission has changed its marketing strategy over the past few years, Houiellebecq said.
Instead of marketing towards specific age demographics, the emphasis now is on psychographic marketing.
The means locating individuals or groups on a two-dimensional grid, with individuality to authority along one axis and outer-directed to inner-directed along the other.
Knowing where the group you are targeting lies on the grid means you also have an idea of the products they like, the price range they are looking for, and ways to promote to them, said the tourism consultant.
Lady Gaga would be an example of someone who is high in individuality and outer-directed, while Martha Stewart would be high in authority and inner-directed.
John Wayne would be an example of someone who is high in authority and outer-directed, and Barack Obama someone who is high in individuality and inner-directed.
Free spirits are with Lady Gaga in the high individuality and outer-directed quadrant. Accounting for about 13 per cent of the world tourism market, they like thrills and frills, but favor urban environments.
Authentic experiencers, on the other hand, are in the high individuality and inner-directed quadrant with Barack Obama. They tend to be older, highly educated, and want to meet with people in the places they visit. They account for nine per cent of the world tourism market and 12 per cent of the Canadian market.