Be a Grassroots Advocate for the Tourism Industry
All politics is local - MPs and other elected officials like meeting with their constituents. A face-to-face meeting with your MP creates a personal connection – a rapport that can be mutually beneficial for the elected official, your business and the tourism industry as a whole. As a tourism business leader in his/her riding, a meeting with your elected officials can help you can help us convey why smart tourism policy is so important to Canadian economy. Even a brief introductory meeting can have an immeasurable impact.
Even if you disagree politically with your MP, it should not mean that you can’t work on policy issues together or even get along with them on a personal level. Give them a chance - some of the most beneficial relationships happen across party lines.
Tips on Conducting an Effective Meeting With Your MP
- Find out who your MP is and send a written request via e-mail for a meeting with your MP in their constituency office
- Not sure how to ask? Refer to the text in our sample letter.
- Try to arrive 5 – 10 minutes early
- Assume you will only have 15 min to meet and plan your talking points accordingly:
- If you plan for the worst (15 min meeting), you will not feel rushed and can focus on your message.
- Refer to TIAC’s suggested talking points for guidance – but do not feel the need to overcomplicate your message withfacts and figures.
- Bottom line: As the tourism industry’s front line representatives, you give a face to the story of how important our sector is in your community, and the importance of increased US visitor volumes to your local economy. Your voice will give urgency to the industry’s call for a competitively-funded CTC.
- Reconnaissance saves lives:
- Read your MP’s bio - You may find things you have in common to start the meeting on the right note
- Ending the meeting:
- Provide the MP and his/her staff with your contact information and TIAC’s leave behind information kit.
- Consider waiting to the end of the meeting for this – otherwise the member might be reading the paper rather than listening to you
- Thank the MP for his/her time and position yourself as an ally and a source of information.
- Things to keep in mind:
- Personally disagreeing with your MP’s political party does not mean you can’t work on policy issues together
- Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you”
- There is a distinction between “asks” and “demands” – aggression won't help.
- A meeting with an assistant is not a bad thing: MPs rely on staffers a great deal. Staffers can—and often do—drive policy issues with their MPs
- Follow up and foster the relationship:
- Follow up with a written thank you and anything you may have forgotten to mention or any information you promised to provide.
- If you enjoyed the meeting do not hesitate to drop him/her a note if you see them in the news or if you have additional information you feel they might be interested in.