It’s our favorite time of year here at Break the Ice Media – a time when we get to reflect on the projects we have worked on, celebrate the successes we have seen, and draw inspiration from other creatives and campaigns in the tourism industry. There are so many cool ways that DMOs, attractions, and agencies are reaching and engaging with visitors.

So, near or far, we thought it would only be fitting to round out the year by counting down our top tourism campaigns of 2019 – those organizations that are breaking barriers and capturing our attention with their creative approach.

The 5 Top Tourism Campaigns of 2019

5. OUIGO:  20 Years

OUIGO is a French train system that offers low-cost fares to other areas of the country, with about 40% of its passengers representing a younger audience. To help promote new routes opening up in 2019 and continue to cater to their millennial and Gen. Z base, they released a humorous and all too realistic ode to those navigating their 20s.

Set to a slower tune trilling about life in your 20s, the video follows several young students as they go about their daily lives navigating cooking, cleaning, and daily chores as only one does at that age. You see their hilarious mishaps and make-dos as they try to strain spaghetti through a tennis racket, melt cheese on a clothes iron, take sharpie to their skin in an effort to hide the holes in their stockings or turn off the bedroom light via nerf gun. The message resonates with the young and brings a touch of nostalgia to those just out of that stage in life – it makes you feel like OUIGO knows the struggles of that age and the finances. The video ends with a simple call-to-action – make the most of your 20s, adventure, explore, do things your own way, and consider OUIGO the answer – affordable for the average young-pro, student, or those just starting out.

4. Air Canada: Travel Like a Canadian

Outside of this ad featuring the amazing Sandra Oh (fact, not opinion) I love this quirky spot from Air Canada that embraces every stereotype the country – and its people – are known for. In a one-and-a-half-minute video, visitors can follow Sandra through the airport and onto an Air Canada flight as she gives you tips and tricks to “travel like a Canadian.” This includes saying sorry to everyone, pulling poutine out of her purse to settle some rowdy children, and accepting the cultures of all people – complete with skater secret handshake.

But outside of the conventional, Air Canada does a nice job of sharing some of the country’s unique values while also subtly noting that the airline flies more than just domestic – it’s part of a growing network of airports and flights across multiple continents. The spot hits all of the right notes, with a nice balance of humor, brand storytelling and messaging woven throughout. 

3. Discover Ireland: Fill Your Heart with Ireland

This campaign technically launched in December of 2018 but has continued to gain traction and see success throughout the 2019 year. Ireland is a place of adventure and Discover Ireland wanted to show visitors how the experiences found there would connect with travelers on a deeper level. So they connected a heart rate monitor to a married couple and set them free to explore, capturing the moments that were exciting, heartfelt, and unique.

The campaign carries from a video over to the www.ireland.com website, encouraging visitors to explore all seasons of Ireland, learn more about the country and book their trip. Their message of “heart-warming moments” carries over to the site as well – drawing on a natural inclination for people to seek experiences that play on their emotions and create lasting memories.

2. Mount Pearl: The Mount Pearl Anthem

This is a great example of a smaller destination really playing up its assets, unique selling points – and great sense of humor. In a three-minute “anthem” to Mount Pearl (found on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland, Canada) this music video turned tourism ad touts the area’s local museum, free parking, dog-friendly attractions, friendly locals, library, breweries, trails and so much more.

It’s jam-packed with fun facts about the city and turns intrigue towards minor attractions by weaving in quirky moments and unexpected twists. The tourism message isn’t buried here – its sung loud and proud by the residents who call Mount Pearl home. This is a great example of how every destination has something to share with visitors – big or small.

1. Faroe Islands: Closed for Maintenance

Overtourism has been a growing concern in the travel sphere for quite a while now. In 2019, the Faroe Islands decided to enlist the help of travelers to drive awareness of the issue and request their help in making it right.

In a simple video appeal, the Faroe Islands announces that during one weekend in April, it would be closing all tourism attractions, museums, trails and parks “for maintenance.” It calls on visitors to volunteer their time and help the island preserve its natural assets in exchange for free meals and board during their stay.

The video strikes a careful balance – not turning visitors away, but instead calling for them to be a part of the solution and welcoming them to partake in a more authentic and local experience. And by selecting just one weekend to focus their efforts on preservation, ensure the economy won’t suffer too much of an impact from the reduced visitation.

Looking for even more inspiration in the tourism industry? Check out our previous round-ups of 2018’s Best Tourism Campaigns: Our Five Favorites and 5 Destination Marketing Campaigns That Blew Us Away in 2017.