Klaus W. Roth

Tourism Marketing Strategist in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Alberta

The late Klaus Roth was a senior marketing executive that spent half a century leading the development and execution of strategic marketing plans in the Tourism Industry.   Klaus had a long history with Travel Alberta and the Alberta tourism industry. His passion for his work is evident in the varied and strong relationships he built throughout his career.

Klaus Werner Roth was born in Regen, Transylvania (now Romania), in 1931. The third child of Heinrich Roth and Katharina Brusch, he was born into a family of Austrian-German roots that had been in Transylvania since the 13th century.

The upheaval of the Second World War saw the family escape to Austria ahead of the advancing Soviet army.

As a refugee in Linz, life was particularly difficult and Klaus would later move to Tyrol to study and begin his foray into tourism. Starting as a front desk clerk in a hotel his skill in speaking English was quickly seized on by British tours.

In 1964, Klaus became involved in his first Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. (He would repeat the experience 36 years later in Vancouver 2010.) As his role with the Olympics came to an end he took on the task of exploring new markets for airlines in the Middle East with routes to Cairo, Beirut and Tel Aviv. He also worked on routes behind the Iron Curtain into the heart of Russia, spending time in Moscow.

Eventually he was sent to Montreal. Klaus switched from promoting ski holidays to Europe to moving to Duesseldorf to promote Quebec as a holiday destination to Europeans, but not before Klaus worked on the summer Olympics in Montreal in 1976.

After a few years, Klaus moved back to Canada where he took a one-year contract as general manager for the Alberta Mint.

At the end of his contract a friend asked him to think about helping a small new airline in the N.W.T. The airline took him north but Klaus would end up taking a role as executive director for the N.W.T. Tourism Industry Association. Tourism in the North was embryonic and Klaus worked on the very first 1-800 number for tourism information for the territory, coming up with the tag line "Going North, Call us First."

In the role he would develop the long-haul tourism market and seek more economic development for the territory using federal funds.

In 1987 he pushed further west into the land of the midnight sun. As marketing director of Tourism Yukon he forged close ties with the U.S., becoming a key member of the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council. He developed strong bonds with the European market negotiating the first direct flights between Frankfurt and Whitehorse as well as a direct flight between Frankfurt and Anchorage.

He moved to Alberta in 1999 but couldn't stay away from tourism for very long, eventually taking up a post as portfolio manager of the Americas for Travel Alberta where he oversaw an annual budget of $12 million and a staff of up to 16 working to market Alberta as a holiday destination.

In 2007 he took on the task of strategy and Olympic marketing in the run up to Vancouver 2010. The strategy culminated in a high profile for Alberta in Vancouver and Whistler during the 2010 Olympic Games. With a train branded Travel Alberta ferrying journalists, VIPs and athletes between Vancouver and Whistler for events, he staged a perfect coup and shone a spotlight on the Rockies during the biggest winter sport competition in the world.

Klaus made an incredible contribution to the Canadian tourism industry over 50 years and has been put forward for an Order of Canada for his tireless dedication to sharing Canada with the world.

He is survived by his wife, Debra, son Stefan in Calgary, his daughter Jadis in London, as well as his daughter Katharina, son-inlaw Michael Miron and beloved granddaughter Alexandra in Montreal.


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