Miconex has expanded its Town and City Gift Cards concept into the Canadian market in association with payment card technology solutions provider EML Payments. The project sees Miconex working with Food Island Partnership to deliver Canada’s Food Island, a gift card programme for Prince Edward Island, located off the east coast of Canada.
Prince Edward Island has a strong tourist economy with campaigns for fall, winter, spring and summer. As mass gatherings are not advisable due to covid, the island’s popular September Fall Flavours 30 day culinary festival was unable to go ahead. Food Island Partnership were looking for an alternative to stimulate the economy and extend the tourist season.
The Canada’s Food Island gift card launched on the 25th September and over 150 businesses on Prince Edward Island are registered to receive the gift card as payment.
“Fall Flavours is a celebration of our status as Canada’s Food Island,” said Kent Thompson, Director of Finance and Food Tourism for Food Island Partnership. “Usually, there are 16 events across the island, pairing celebrity chefs with local chefs. We have visitors from every province in Canada and from 12 states of the US. To go from 20,000 room nights in September and £3-4 million in revenue to zero is scary. We needed a new way to showcase what we offer on Prince Edward Island, helping our merchants to survive through the crises.”
“We considered various ways of stimulating the tourism sector but gift cards seemed most appropriate. The government were really supportive of the idea and merchants were really excited by the prospect too. 80 merchants had signed up to receive the Canada’s Food Island gift card as payment within a week. There are no extra overheads for them and they use the equipment they already have. There was a real push to get the Canada’s Food Island gift card up and running ready for September to help our businesses.”
“The data possibilities of the Canada’s Food Island gift card are huge, we’ll have 12 months of data instead of the 1 month we usually have from Fall Flavours. We can see where people are shopping, we can run different streams for the stays sector or for retail with different promotions, comparing and contrasting to see what works. This is information that we can use to create future packages. If we decide that we want to run a promotion for the holiday season, then we can have that going quickly. We can also use the data to help our consumers to make purchasing decisions, and encourage them to try new businesses. Tourists in particular tend to have favourite merchants; with the Canada’s Food Island gift card, they’re more likely to try something new.”
Food Island Partnership will also be using the Canada’s Food Island gift card to drive a shop local message for the 150,000 residents of Prince Edward Island.
“Coronavirus has made us all think more about the importance of shopping local but at the same time, people are also trying to make their dollars go further. To encourage residents to shop local and to make the card favourable for both residents and tourists, we launched the Canada’s Food Island card with a 20% discount, so for an $80 spend you’ll get a $100 gift card.”
Mr Thompson, who ran a restaurant at university and worked with the Department for Agriculture prior to the Food Island Partnership says the Canada’s Food Island gift card enables them to combine shop local messaging with food tourism in one campaign.
“I’m really optimistic about the Canada’s Food Island gift card and interested in the different collaborations we can create with it, such as corporate purchases of the gift card. Success breeds success and we’re looking forward to the three month marker when we can start to see that success come through.”
As well as Food Island Partnership, Miconex have worked alongside Canada’s Versatile Management Group to get the Canada’s Food Island gift card programme up and running.
Kelly Murphy Director of Operations at Versatile Management Group commented: “When it became clear that Fall Flavours couldn’t happen we had to pivot to help our tourism sector. We wanted to avoid the headaches of disseminating paper money and find an easier way to stimulate the sector. A neighbouring province told us about EML, and from here we connected with Miconex.”
Managing Director of Miconex Colin Munro said: “We’ve taken our existing infrastructure and applied it to create a unique offering that meets the specific needs of the Food Island Partnership with the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card. It’s a brilliant programme to showcase Prince Edward Island and its culinary, tourism and shop local offering, developing its position as Canada’s food island.”
“The teams at Versatile Management Group and Food Island Partnership have shown vision and drive to get this programme up and running extremely quickly, and we look forward to continuing this partnership over the coming months.”