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Tourism as an Instrument of Revitalization: The Case of Manitoba

Normand Gousseau, Chief Executive Officer,
Entreprises Riel, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Manitoba offers a wide variety of tourism products that incorporates a range of products related to the rich French and local Métis cultural heritage, among which is an impressive inventory of assets concerning/related to Louis Riel, one of the Fathers of Confederation.

Despite the undeniable richness of this Manitoban heritage, local tourism marketing organizations have failed to sufficiently showcase and promote French heritage tourism as an important part of Manitoba's tourism landscape. Heritage sites, attractions and events have been left more or less alone to define and market their own products.  Industry-affiliated Francophones understand that promoting Manitoba on Francophone markets and elsewhere, and positioning it as having a bilingual capacity among its workforce, is not a political statement - we are simply affirming its competitive advantage.

Entreprises Riel has only been engaged in this project since autumn 2015, but we have managed to attract government attention and support. Although it is still early days in the strategy implementation process, this presentation will outline the diversity and richness of this tourism offer, past resistance to it, a review of best practices and the significant shift by the tourism industry stakeholders in Manitoba.

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