SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN -- (Marketwire) -- 01/16/13 -- It's wheels up for Saskatoon and Regina airport authorities in their continued efforts to secure non-stop charters to Europe and Asia, thanks to federal funding announced today by the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WD).
"Developing greater international connections with key trading regions is essential to Canada's economic prosperity," said Minister Yelich. "We are making a long-term investment to establish strategic air routes to Asia and Europe which will create jobs and strengthen Saskatchewan's tourism industry."
A three-year investment of $304,878 from WD will help Saskatchewan's two largest airports brand the province as an attractive destination for international carriers. Working with partners in the province's tourism industry and economic development organizations, representatives will meet with international carriers attending the 2013 and 2014 annual World Routes conferences.
"We compete for air service in a global marketplace," said Stephen Maybury, CEO at the Saskatoon Airport. "Attracting and developing new sustainable air service is not a short-term initiative or a simple process. It is gratifying to have the financial assistance of WD. Not only will it help in our ongoing efforts to promote Saskatchewan to the world, it also demonstrates their support of our collaborative efforts to date."
Representatives from Regina and Saskatoon airports attending the last two World Routes conferences have learned they must invest heavily in product marketing in order to compete with other Canadian airports which already have an international profile. Improved visibility and targeted marketing efforts focused on the United Kingdom, Germany and China will support new Saskatchewan branding strategies at upcoming international conferences.
"World Routes offers an unparalleled opportunity for our airport authorities, tourism and economic development associations to jointly market and promote Saskatchewan as a business and tourist destination of choice," said Jim Hunter, President and CEO, Regina Airport Authority. "Meeting annually with international airlines is very important as they drive the decisions on routes and seat capacity. We are competing continuously with airports of all sizes for the attention of air carriers, and developing new, direct international routes are long processes."
"Direct air access is crucial to growing Saskatchewan's overseas tourism markets," said Pat Fiacco, CEO, Tourism Saskatchewan. "People in Europe and Asia have a world of options to choose from, and poor air access is a barrier to growth in these markets. Saskatchewan has great tourism experiences on offer, and WD's support for this project strengthens Saskatchewan's growing potential as an international destination. We will continue to build on that message until, ultimately, we are successful in bringing new air access to Saskatchewan."
Since 2006, the Harper Government, through WD, has invested in job-creating small- and medium-sized businesses, aerospace, marine and defence industries, and supported innovative entrepreneurs in pursuing emerging markets. By continuing to promote new economic opportunities, WD is helping to create jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity.
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A stronger West. A stronger Canada.
Western Economic Diversification Canada
President & Chief Executive Officer
Saskatoon Airport Authority
President and CEO
Regina Airport Authority
WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-877-303-3388
Website: WD is online at www.wd-deo.gc.ca
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