On June 16, 2008, Tourism Thunder Bay, in collaboration with Corporate Communications and the Community Economic Development Commision launched http://www.mytbay.ca/, a community engagement portal developed to gather stories, video and photos from Thunder Bay residents, businesses and visitors about what makes Thunder Bay a great place to live, work and visit.
The campaign will run over the summer and will encourage local residents to build pride in their community, share their best tales and help spread the word about everything there is do do in the city. The camapign will help residents and satisfied visitors become ambassadors for the community. Selling the community to ourselves makes it easier to sell to others.
Selected materials gathered from this engagement campaign will be utilized in a number of upcoming tourism marketing campaigns, focusing on real experiences of real travellers and residents.
The campaign will be supported by community media partners Dougall Media (http://www.dougallmedia.com/), Newcap Radio (http://www.newcap.ca/), NetNewsLedger (http://www.netnewsledger.com/), CBC Radio 1 (http://www.cbc.ca/) and the Chronicle Journal (http://www.chroniclejournal.com/). While a few other communities around North America have had similar type campaigns, Thunder Bay's is unique in that it will engage social media channels unlike any other city, using Facebook, MySpace, Youtube and other social networks to engage visitors and steer them towards the main portal.
TBayTel (http://www.tbaytel.net/) is a major partner in the campaign as is Thunder Bay Transit and the Thunder Bay Public Library(http://www.tbpl.ca/), who will assist those without access to a home computer to log on at any Thunder Bay Public Library Branch to have their say.
The campaign was developed by the City's creative advertising agency, Generator Advertising (http://www.generatorad.com/) and a special thanks is extended to Jack Hudolin, Barry Smith, Heather Cranston and Steve Coghill of Generator for their creativity and insights into the project.
Visit http://www.mytbay.ca/ to add your photos, stories and videos about what you like best about working, living and visiting Thunder Bay.
Upcoming Familiarization Tours
On June 20 and 21st, Tourism Thunder Bay will be hosting executives representing 7 various cruise lines and vessel management firms. They are touring Great Lakes ports as part of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition's efforts to introduce new cruise vessels to the Great Lakes. While in Thunder Bay, they will visit the Terry Fox Lookout, Whitewater Golf and the new marina development. While Fort William Historical Park is also on the itinerary, flood repairs may alter that visit.
While in the city, they will meet with City officials as well as staff from the Thunder Bay Port Authority, Thunder Bay International Airport Authority and Canada Border Services.
Cruise shipping can offer significant financial impacts on the community and it is expected that the 11 visits in 2009 by the vessel MV Clelia II will generate approximately $300 000 in economic impacts.
Following on their heels will be another delegation of 10 motorcoach executives touring Northern Ontario cities. With rising fuel prices, motorcoach travel is gaining in popularity and touring routes are once again popular. Three routes - the Lake Superior Circle Tour, loops from the prairies and trnas Canada travel catering to a largely Asian market - are all on the city's radar.
Seven Days With the Giant Update
Seven Days with the Giant officially ended May 30 and the campaign generated over 25, 240 entries. The winner's name should be released in the coming weeks and they and 3 guests will be visiting in August, 2008. During the campaign, web visitation to the http://www.visitthunderbay.com/ site increased by 41%.
BluesFest Weekend Getaway
This year, Tourism Thunder Bay celebrated tourism week with the release of the Bluesfest Weekend Getaway campaign in the Winnipeg, Northern Minnesota and regional Northwestern Ontario Markets. Thunder Bay residents are not eligble to enter but are encouraged to invite their out of town friends to enter online. The winner and a friend will recieve weekend passes to the 7th annual TBayTel Thunder Bay Bluesfest, a sailing charter with http://www.sailsuperior.com/ yacht charters and 1 night overnight accommodation on their floating Bed and Breakfast, two nights stay at the Day's Inn North (http://www.daysinn.ca/) dinners at the Prospector and Lot 66 and lunch at Ruby Moon.
ReDiscover Thunder Bay
In the June edition of "Your City", Tourism Thunder Bay was featured in a two page centre spread, encouraging local residents to rediscover our city. As part of National Tourism week and in response to the fact that 180 000 visitors come to the city annually to visit friends and family, building local amassadors helps sell the city.
As many in the industry are aware, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership publications left Northwestern Ontario completely off the maps in both the distinctive Getaways campaign and the My Ontario 2008 Visitor Guide. However, with respect to each of the errors, the effects on Thunder Bay were minimized in that, the experiences featured in the Distinctive Getaways were not offered in this part of the Province and in the My Ontario Guide, the map ends just west of the city and Thunder Bay was featured in a 4 page editorial piece focusing on Fort William Historical Park, with the call to action listed as http://www.visitthunderbay.com/.
The Northern Office at the OTMPC took up the issue as did MPP Michael Gravelle and his staff at the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. We thank them for bringing the concerns to the highest level to ensure the mistake is not made in the future.
We had the pleasure of meeting with Bill Duron, the Chair of OTMPC several weeks back to discuss many of the great partnerships Tourism Thunder Bay has formed with the OTMPC and Bill offered his heartfelt apology for the map deletion. However, we are pleased with the partnerships with OTMPC that assisted us with many campaigns in the past year, including Seven Days With the Giant. Watch for some new partnerships being announced in the nrear future.
Tourism Thunder Bay on the Move
We're moving out of our VicotriaVille offices and going on down to the water. Effective July 14, 2008, our new administrative offices will be located at Prince Arthur's Landing in the former Pool 6 office building.
The move facilitates the movement of the Mayor and CAO's offices into the former tourism location during City hall renovations this year.
We are excited by the new office location, while in the middle of a construction zone, signals growth of our city and our commitment to the waterfront development and future enhancements on the site, including cruise ship docking commencing in 2009. Terry Fox Visitor Center and the Pagoda will remain themain consumer points of contact for information.
Once we are settled, we welcome industry partners to visit for a tour and to see the plans for the new developments unfold.