The Ontario Motor Coach Association (OMCA) held its annual Marketplace event virtually this year for the first time in its ninety-one years of existence. Amber Kane, Corporate Tourism & Sponsorship Coordinator with Tourism Brantford attended OMCA Virtual Marketplace on November 9, 2020 and met with twenty-four buyers from the group travel industry. The group travel industry is a diverse contributor to local tourism and includes student travel and luxury coach tours.
Buyers in attendance were located throughout Ontario, Eastern Canada and the United States. In March 2020, as a result of the ban on all non-essential travel, group tour operators were not open to the public, resulting in cancellations of trips to Brantford. Canadian tour operators are pivoting to provide more regional and provincial travel options to their consumers for 2021 and 2022, and were eager to hear itinerary ideas for day trips and overnight trips to Brantford. While the Canada-US Border remains closed to non-essential travel, Tourism Brantford continues to strengthen their relationship with group tour companies in the US and provide them with diverse, value added itineraries to #DiscoverBrantford once it is again safe to do so.
The Brantford Visitor and Tourism Centre welcomes a number of motor coach tours and leisure groups to Brantford each year, and most of these groups enjoy Brantford as a day trip destination while travelling to other regional and provincial cities. Brantford offers many one-of-a-kind cultural, historical, and outdoor experiences, which are attractive to tour operators looking to create unique, experiential itineraries for their consumers. Tourism Brantford helps to connect tour operators with attractions, restaurants, shops, and hotels so they can develop a partnership to purchase large volumes of products or services at a better rate than individual travelers can secure.