NEW YORK: The tourism arm of the government of Alberta, Canada, has named MFA as its PR AOR.
After work began on May 1, the Finn Partners agency started raising awareness of the Canadian province among U.S. travelers. Travel Alberta wants to make the province a year-round destination, promoting not only the Canadian Rockies, but also other lesser-known attractions such as the Jasper Dark Sky Preserve.
The province wants to highlight features including its culinary, arts, craftsmanship and brewing scenes, as well as urban experiences.
"We built our business on that space between travel, tourism, active outdoor and consumer PR," said founder and CEO Missy Farren. "The sweet spot is right there. Where we shine in addition to that is coming up with programming and ideas to get niche markets interested, whether it’s culinary or sports."
The incumbent on the account was Fahlgren Mortine-owned Turner.
"We are huge fans of Alberta and are proud of the work we’ve done over the past few years," said Deborah Park, VP of travel and tourism at Turner. "We wish their team and new government the best moving forward."
Travel Alberta issued an RFP for the business in late January. After two Skype interviews, the client informed MFA that it had been awarded the three-year contract in late April and invited the 20-person firm to tour the region for six days. Account work started at the beginning of May.
As a government agency, Travel Alberta is required to review its account regularly.
"Their goals shifted a bit and [they wanted to] inject some new creativity," Farren explained. "They want us to protect summer and build interest in winter."
Tourism in Alberta is an $8.5 billion industry, supporting 19,000 businesses and 127,000 jobs in the province, according to a statement from the agency.
Finn Partners acquired MFA, then known as Missy Farren & Associates, last October. It has worked with Burton Snowboards and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams. The firm’s lifestyle clients include Westin Hotels & Resorts, Lululemon and Quiksilver, according to a statement.
Finn Partners’ tourism and government assignments have included the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of South Korea and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey.
This story was updated on June 27 with comment from Park.