Tourism Commissioner Wendy Knight announces the Porter Airlines promotion Friday morning at BTV. With her, from left, Megan Sullivan (Congressman Welch), Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn, Governor Scott, Chris Saunders (Senator Leahy), Commerce Secretary Mike Schirling and BTV Aviation Director Gene Richards. VBM photos.
by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today at Burlington International Airport announced the Vermont at-par lodging promotion for passengers who travel from Toronto to Burlington aboard Toronto-based Porter Airlines. In a promotion created by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, more than 20 lodging properties in Burlington, the Stowe area, Smugglers' Notch and the Mad River Valley are offering Porter Airlines’ passengers lodging packages at a rate equivalent to the value of the Canadian dollar. Details and rates will vary for each participating property.
“Lodging promotions, like what we’re announcing today with Porter Airlines, encourage more visitation from our Canadian neighbors, which helps boost our tourism sector and grow our economy. They also serve to strengthen ties with our Canadian neighbors,” said Scott. “I appreciate the work of my team, the lodging properties, chambers and businesses that helped launch this initiative.”
Scott said this promotion should strengthen relationships "with our Canadian neighbors" and growing the state’s economy through continued partnerships with Canadian businesses and governments, which he said is a priority for the Scott Administration. Vermont and its Canadian neighbors share priorities related to economies, tourism and renewable energy. This new partnership with Porter Airlines is another important step in facilitating cross-border travel and trade, he said.
He emphasized that this is not just a one-way tourism opportunity, but a way for Vermont businesses to build relationships in the Toronto area.
"The plane flies both ways" he said. And twice weekly, on Tuesday and Saturday.
Enplanements on Porter were down last year, according to BTV Director of Aviation Gene Richards. He said along with this promotion and continued marketing by all stakeholders involved, he hopes to get numbers up. He said the way to get more flights and year-round service is simply to increase passenger numbers. Like the governor, he encouraged Vermonters to use the service back to Toronto.
The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing continues to commit marketing resources in Canada, a country that accounts for 87 percent of all international visitation to Vermont and is the state’s largest trade partner. Annually, close to 2 million Canadians visit Vermont, spending approximately $200 million on tourism. This past summer, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing launched a Canadian “Welcome” campaign to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canada Day in a series of video messages from Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Scott and Commissioner Knight.
“We are pleased that so many of Vermont’s finest lodging properties are partnering with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing and Porter Airlines to offer savings to in-bound Canadian travelers flying to Vermont on Porter Airlines,” said Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Wendy Knight. “We look forward to welcoming the many Canadian visitors who will travel to Vermont on Porter Airlines this winter to enjoy Vermont’s ski resorts and other tourism destinations and attractions.”
Knight said "at-par" was not based exactly on the exchange rate of each dollar, but on the relative equivalent cost for a Canadian visiting a Vermont resort, which explains why the range of the discount is between 20-30 percent depending on the hotel. While not yet participating in the promotion, representatives from Bromley and Woodstock attended the press conference.
"This partnership with Vermont offers our passengers exclusive savings during their time in the state," said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. "There are so many great reasons to visit Vermont this winter, and this program is one more."
Porter Airlines currently offers seasonal, direct flights from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Burlington International Airport in South Burlington. Porter’s flight schedule will continue for the winter season through March 27, 2018.