Top 10 “Most Memorable” Tourism Campaigns

I’m lucky enough to teach tourism marketing at Royal Roads University. One of the first things I ask my students to do is name a campaign that pops into their mind. These top-of-mind campaigns often surprise me, and there are some old favourites too.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, I give you our 2017 list of “Most Memorable Tourism Campaigns”:

1100% Pure New Zealand. This one always gets a mention, and it’s no wonder. Established in 1999, this brand is coming up on two decades as a tourism marketing icon. Back in 2009 they celebrated ten years by including testimonials from industry giants including the World Tourism Organization and this quote from Victoria Treyger, then the CEO of Travelocity:

“The 100% Pure New Zealand campaign is one of the best marketing campaigns I have seen for a destination. It builds awareness and excitement about New Zealand using a fresh, innovative and extremely engaging approach to every element of the campaign, but especially the TV spots.”

I can only imagine that they stick with this winning brand for years to come.

2. Old school “Super, Natural British Columbia” ads. One of my students reminisced about a 1980s campaign that, when she described it, immediately popped into my mind as well. She even found a copy of the ad online (it’s featured at the top of this post). That font! Takes me back.

Celine puts on the Air Canada uniform (2004). Credit

3. I hate to do this to you, but more than one student brought up Air Canada’s “You and I” campaign. Back in 2004 Celine Dion visited Pearson International Airport to record a song for the iconic Canadian brand. It’s an earworm for sure. Click here to hear it if you dare.

logo_travel-manitoba24. Another Canadian winner, and mentioned every year, is the launch of Manitoba: Canada’s Heart Beats in 2013. Previous provincial tourism slogans included “Spirited Energy” and “It’s Manitoba Time”. Using research purchased from Destination Canada (then the CTC), Travel Manitoba and their partners reimagined the province’s place in our minds and hearts. Watch some of the video iterations here.  I’m biased because I married a Manitoba boy, but it does the trick for me!

5. Next let’s go to a first-time winner, from Kerala, India. This clip features the “Great Backwaters of Kerala“. Amazing. Disclaimer: when I showed my daughter a series of videos from India, she ordered me to book us a flight. It’s a little early for us to plan our first mother-daughter backpack adventure (she’s 7), but it’s on the list for sure!

6. Back to Canada for the nationwide, CTC-led “Locals Know” campaign from 2009. Featuring a dedicated website (, print, social and online, this was a charming way to show visitors our country from a locals perspective. You can revisit some of the commercials here.

7. Overseas we go again, to Japan’s “&Tokyo“. This video culminates in a bunch of tailgates like “Culture&Tokyo”, “Sport&Tokyo”, “Art&Tokyo”, “Festival&Tokyo” … you get the idea.

8.”Korea Sparkling” is a brand so powerful that it inspired my student to MOVE to Korea. Now back in Canada, she’ll use “Korea Sparkling” online to search for what’s new and great in the destination. Now that’s an impact.

Kim’s like “wow, a waterfall!” or something. Courtesy

9. Much to my student’s dismay, a number of tourism partners in Costa Rica recently invited the Kardashians down for a stay.  My learner feels their visit is now overshadowing some of the stronger (ecological and cultural) brand representations we’ve seen from this destination in the past. This is a tricky one; the K family brings untold ‘earned’ media along with them and followers galore. Will this translate into more visitors and spending? Time will tell.

While we wait, here’s a link to an older, official campaign, that has cute animals. That’s better, isn’t it?

IMG_798610. Our final spot goes to Hawaii and a campaign they ran in Vancouver’s downtown Skytrain (rapid rail) stations. The idea was to have people ‘picture themselves’ in the destination, take a selfie, and post it to Instagram (some good old fashioned sales promotion with a social twist).

The challenge with this campaign? When I tried to recall it (TOMA – Top of Mind Awareness), I couldn’t remember the name of the specific destination. But like a good teacher I took some photos of the ads. Turns out it’s for Koloa, on the island of Kauai. I’ve been to Kauai, and it’s lovely, and I certainly can picture myself there.

Well folks, that’s this year’s list. Thanks to my students for their suggestions! Feel free to add yours in the comments.

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