Monday, March 3, 2008

Tourism Thunder Bay March News

New 2008 Visitor Experience Magazine

The new 2008 Experience Thunder Bay magazines are in print and available as of March 7th. The 84 page glossy magazine features more information, editorial content and community resources, making it a key publication for visitors and residents alike. last year, 110 000 paper copies and 31 000 electronic copies found their way into visitors hands and screens. The new single guide replaces two separate guides from previous years. They will be available in most accommodation providers, key retail and regional travel centers by Mid March.

In addition to local outlets at hotels, airport and bus terminals, visitor centers and fuel stations, the guides are also distributed to all Provincial Travel Information Centers in the Province, and key regional travel centers and strategic high volume service stations west towards Manitoba, east of Thunder Bay as well as along the North Shore of Minnesota.

Approximately 25 000 copies will find their way into delegate packages over the following year and over 10 000 are distributed at various consumer and industry travel shows, through Tourism Thunder Bay and partners North of Superior Tourism, Ontario's North and individual businesses attending shows where they wish to promote the city as Ambassadors of the community.

If you would like additional copies or would like to include them in conference delegate packages, please email

The 2008 Meeting planner has been reprinted for another 6000 copy run for 2008 and our new Group tour planner is expected to be in circulation by mid June.

Web Visitation

Tourism Thunder Bay's consumer website, continues to post strong growth over 2007 and prove why it is Tourism Thunder Bay's #1 marketing tool. February 2008 saw 16,786 unique visitors to the site and 29,741 visits. Year to date shows over 36,683 unique visitors and 66,238 visits, representing a 34% growth year to date over 2007.

Visitor Center Stats

Currently, The Terry Fox visitor center is fullfilling over 100 consumer requests weekly for our visitor guide and an average of 400 conference packages weekly are being prepared. Walk in traffic for the month of February shows a modest increase of 10% over February 2007. Even in the middle of winter, we are averaging some 38 visitors to the center daily as well as emails and 1-800 calls

Seven Days Update

The Seven Days with the Giant campaign was unveiled at the opening of the Toronto Outdoor Show March 22nd. The Honourable Minister of Natural Resources Donna Canfield, Ontario Parks Managing Director Adair Ireland-Smith, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation CEO Robin Garrett, Manager of Tourism Thunder Bay Paul Pepe and renowned adventurer Gary McGuffin unveiled the campaign to the Toronto market and spoke of the allure that is the Sleeping Giant.

The support of the Federal and Provincial governments as well as the many participating businesses has made this awareness building campaign a success. Seven Days with the Giant continues to attract hundreds of entries entries daily and will be featured at Canoecopia in Madison Wisconsin March 7-9 and the Midwest Mountaineering Show in Minneapolis. Displays promoting the campiagn are in full swing at all Mountain Equipment Co-op stores across Canada as well. A special thanks goes out to Bill Ostrom of Ostrom Outdoors for displaying cards and calanders at his booth at the Madison show, in addition to the contest being promoted at the Ontario Parks display.

The campaign has been an enourmous success in raising the profile of Thunder Bay as a destination. Tourism Thunder Bay is already planning a 2009 version of Seven Days with the Giant. If you want to be part of the campaign for next year, please e-mail me at We will be hosting an event partners meeting in mid April to begin planning and budgeting for the 2009 leisure campaign.

Cruise Ship Attraction Program

Tourism Thunder Bay will be part of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition's presence at Seatrade 2008, the world's foremost annual gathering of cruise industry executives, ship owners, managers and tour operators. We will be attending the event in Miami Beach from March 11-13 working to promote Lake Superior as a destination for cruise operators, focusing on smaller expedition type vessels and itineraries. In addition we will be learning new travel trends in cruising and cruise ship itinerary development and shoreside services and terminal development. In addition to promoting the Port of Thunder Bay and all our attractions, our work will benefit other communities such as Sault Ste Marie, Duluth and Marquette, Lake Superior's other major port cities.

Tourism Thunder Bay, in partnership with the Thunder Bay Port Authority, is a member of the Creat Lakes Cruising Coalition, a collective of 26 port cities, counties, States and Provincial partners working to further the development of the cruising industry on the Great Lakes.

Thunder Bay will also be a stop for a cruise industry familiarization tour in mid June where we will be showing various Great Lakes ports to up to 7 cruise industry executives. This program has been made possible by the financial support of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and the Investment Development Office of the Ministry of Tourism.

Facebook Update, our Facebook group continues to grow by 5-7 members daily. In addition to the daily updates posted by our visitor services staff, weekly e-news updates are sent to all members advertising ski conditions, cultural attractions, accommodation packages and more. To get involved, search Visitthunderbay on Facebook or e-mail your event to

Staff Changes

Kathy Ball, Tourism Thunder Bay's Development Officer, has accepted a secondment with the Waterfront Development office effective February 21st. She will be applying her expertise towards the complex role of coordinating funding applications and sponsorships for the project. Tourism Thunder Bay expects to backfill the position shortly.

Meeting and Convention News

As part of Tourism Thunder Bay's enhanced focus on key corporate markets, we will be working to attract the corporate business of the numerous mining and exploration companies in Canada. We will be at the Northwestern Ontario Mining Symposium April 8-9, 2008 to promote Thunder Bay to the attending firms, encouraging them to host more meetings and conferences in the city. We will also be following up with direct campaigns to Canada's major exploration companies.

This represents our enhanced strategy to target firms and organizations who have Thunder Bay offices, encouraging them to have their regional, Provincial or National meetings and conferences in the community.

If your local office is looking to host your organization's conference in the city, we provide delegate packages. In addition, we loan our display backdrops free of charge (on a first come-first serve basis) so you can promote the city as a location for upcoming events. The Ontario Fur Trappers, Retired Teachers of Ontario and others have already taken advantage of this great promotional program. Please contact Rose Marie Tarnowski at for more information on conference services provided or to book our display for your upcoming event.

New Creative Agency

Tourism Thunder Bay is pleased to announce that Generator Advertising has been selected as our new Creative Agency of Record. Generator will begin assisting us in the development of new creative advertising strategies centered around the leisure, corporate, group and sports tourism segments. We'll be focusing more on a continuation of unique contest based campaigns and web based marketing strategies.

Travel Media Update

We are currently entertaining inquiries from travel writers seeking rock climbing, saunas and kayaking experiences and hope to have some familiarization tours in place by early June 2008. We will also be expanding upon our program started in 2007 to provide Familiarization experiences for local and regional writers to encourage them to write and sell their stories to the myriad of travel and experience based print and on line media. More information will follow in coming months.

Group Touring Update

Cathy Pressenger, Tourism Thunder Bay's group tour coordinator, recently attended the Ontario Motorcoach Operators Association annual show and will be at the American Bus Association Heartland show, promoting Thunder Bay and regional itineraries to motorcoach operators. For more information on these activities, please contact Cathy at There is a resurgance in Lake Superior evident at the Ontario show and key U.S. midwest markets are still interested in the product, despite the U.S. border identification requirements.

Ontario's North

Thunder Bay, along with Sudbury, Timmins, North Bay and Sault Ste Marie, comprise Ontario's North, a tourism marketing partnership that focuses on key media attraction and leisure, group and corporate marketing initiaitives to promote Northern Ontario. The group is chaired by Tourism Thunder Bay. Funding for the consortium is a partnership involving Fednor, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and the Cities themselves. We'll endeavour to keep you posted on upcoming new campaigns and initiatives.

Book Tourism Thunder Bay for your next Meeting

Tourism Thunder Bay is always pleased to help share industry news and developments with the community. We have recently made presentations to the following groups.

  • Heart of the Harbour BIA Annual General Meeting
  • Thunder Bay Executives Association
  • Lakehead University School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism
  • Confederation College Business Program
  • Founder's Pioneer Village Annual General Meeting

The Thunder Bay Tourism Partners blog is a community site to share industry news. If tyhere is anything you wish to share, we are pleased to provide a forum to do so. Please e-mail me your thoughts and suggestions to

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