P.E.I.'s annual visitor's guide for 2017 is smaller than ever before and less expensive for the province to produce, officials say.
The new guide, at 25.5 centimetres high by 17 centimetres wide, is 3.5 by 2 centimetres smaller than previous magazine-size guides.
"The guides are starting to look a little bit different if you look at various countries, various provinces and states," said Brenda Gallant, director of marketing for Tourism PEI.
"There is a trend toward a smaller, more portable guide."
Small can be beautiful, though — Gallant said people find the smaller guides easier to stash in a purse.
And "they're not so small that you can't get all the beautiful information that we have, like the impact of some of our visuals," she said.
"Where we could we reduced a little bit of copy but surprisingly, we didn't lose very much by going from that larger size to this one," Gallant explained, noting the number of pages remains comparable.
'Print is starting to come back'
This year, the province printed 25,000 fewer guides.
It's no secret that fewer people order printed guides, preferring to research their travels online. Government has been steadily reducing the number of guides it prints every year for the last six or seven years, Gallant said.
"It's not like it was years ago, where it was the central piece for marketing — now I would say our website is the central piece," said Gallant.
But Gallant believes there will always be a place for the booklets, and in fact points to a minor print renaissance.
"We are seeing a trend in the marketplace where print is starting to come back a little bit," she said. "We see companies like Canadian Tire or JC Penney in the U.S. who had all but abandoned their catalogues and are now bringing them all back."
Tourists enjoy guides as travel keepsakes and to display on coffee tables for friends, Gallant said.
$30K savings for 2017
The new guides have also shrunk the province's spending on the guides by $30,000 this year — a significant savings in a total budget of $114,000.
Not only has government ordered fewer guides, but printing costs have also become cheaper.
"Anything we can that can reduce our costs, we're always looking to do that," said Gallant, adding, "We're not going to reduce the cost to the point of making it an ineffective tool."
The total budget for marketing for Tourism PEI has remained at $4 million for several years, Gallant noted.
It's also keeping an eagle eye on waste, Gallant said — not handing out as many guides to operators until they ask for more — "Ensuring that what's being distributed on-Island is being distributed properly and not sitting in somebody's space and being thrown out at the end of the year."
The theme of this year's guide is "Come Find Your Island," Gallant said, noting the province has not used the slogan "The Gentle Island" for the last four years, instead focusing on promotion in four key areas of culinary, coastal, golf and culture.
P.E.I. received a record 1.5 million visitors in 2016 and hopes for more in 2017.
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