Mounties, maple syrup and Meghan and Harry? A royal move could strengthen the Canada brand

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TORONTO / OTTAWA – Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are expected to strengthen Canada's brand abroad and benefit tourism, though marketing advisors say the effect will be limited.

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License fees are big business worldwide. It is estimated that the British monarchy contributed a total of £ 1.77 billion ($ 2.31 billion) to the UK economy annually. This was the result of a 2017 report by the London-based brand valuation company Brand Finance.

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This is due to intangible assets such as revaluing brands with a royal warrant, tourism to places of interest like Buckingham Palace, and the impact of their goodwill ambassador on trade.

Last week, Prince Harry (35) and former actress Meghan (38) said they would reduce their royal duties and spend more time in North America while becoming financially independent. This triggered a crisis in the British monarchy and raised questions about what it would mean for Canada.

A possible economic upswing depends on the relationship between Canada's newest immigrants and their new home, said Charlie Scarlett-Smith, marketing director at Brand Finance in Montreal.

"If you start appreciating Canadian brands and appreciating a Canadian identity, aspects of these parts of our economy – tourism, etc. – will also experience an upswing," he said.

However, a bigger impact is likely to be negligible, especially given the fact that the couple doesn't seem to be in the spotlight, said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

"The mere fact that part of the motivation is to move away from the public suggests that we can't expect a big push for merchandising or tourism or anything like that. I don't expect this to really move the needle on that Canadian economy, "he added.

The couple, who announced the decision to resign shortly after the Christmas vacation in the Canadian province of British Columbia, have registered the brand name Sussex Royal.

The British royal family remains popular in Canada, a former British colony that Queen Elizabeth retains as the official head of state.

A poll conducted by pollster Angus Reid found that 69% of the 1,154 Canadians surveyed had a positive view of Prince Harry, despite 45% saying Canada should not remain a constitutional monarchy indefinitely.

Destination BC, the official tourism office of British Columbia, estimated that when Prince William and his wife Kate visited in 2016, the print and online reporting of this trip generated an advertising volume of around C $ 2 million (1.53 million . USD) in the United States had Great Britain alone.

"If they start holding public events and confirming their plans to stay in Canada, we're sure to see more spurts of interest that could surely lead to visits if BC gets more attention," said Clare Mason, spokeswoman for Destination BC.

($ 1 = 0.7673 pounds) ($ 1 = 1.3045 Canadian dollars)