There is no doubt that the current global economic and environmental climate has changed the way people travel and in the selection of their travel destinations. Consumers are looking to stretch their travel budgets and are also turning more, than ever before, to "greener"experiences whereby the minimize their impact on the surrounding environment. The tourism industry needs to embrace opportunities to improve the sustainablilty of their visitor experiences and reduce the expece of travel and operating expenses through environmentally responsible operating practices.
With this change in the status quo, its no wonder that the presence of Thunder Bay at this year's International Eco and Sustainable Tourism Conference will help raise our profile as a both a destination for visitors and investment platform for small and medium sized tourism operations looking to take advantage of people's changing travel patterns and motivations.
This year's speaker's list for the conference includes Heidi Stoble, an Initiaitves Officer with FedNor (www.ic.gc.ca) and myself. Heidi is a huge supporter of eco and sustainable tourism development and through FedNor, has been an important financial partner with the City in the development of Seven Days With the Giant.
Not to let too much out of the bag before our presentation but our focus on creating new eco and sustainable tourism opportunities in Canada's Boreal forest and will capitalize upon the attention Thunder Bay is receiving in global sustainable tourism community for a very unique new direction in developing partnerships with Parks within our tourism marketing and product development. We want Thunder Bay to be known as one of Canada's, if not North America's, great outdoor cities and are positioning it to be so in all of our marketing by focusing on our connection to the iconic Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and to our intimate connection to Lake Superior. By partnering with our Provincilal and National Parks, leading with unique outdoor experiences and building a mystique around them, we raise the profile of Thunder Bay that transcends well beyond the liesure travel market.
Raising the profile of Thunder Bay is the first, and most important step to attracting new visitor markets, be it leisure, corporate, group travel and sports. People are looking for new experiences, new locations and are doing so with a much greater appreciation for sustainability and environmental responsibility.
We're capitiaizing on our connection to the Sleeping Giant to lure new outdoor visitors and help foster new small business development to meet the changing needs for travellers. We're positioning the city as a unique destination for meetings and conferences, based on the potential to offer unique venues and team building options. We're marketing the city as a natural for hosting sport competitions, many of which are held in the outdoors. For group travel, the Lake Superior Circle has not even scratched the surface as a successful destination for international touring travellers by pedel or motorcycle, motor coach, RV or boat.
To be selected to present at the Eco Tourism conference is a huge honour for the City of Thunder Bay and FedNor and supports the success of the work collectively done so far to develop a positive image for the community, create new partnerships with our outdoor experience providers and other orders of government to build a healthy and sustainable tourism industry in a new global climate.
For more information on the 2008 International Eco and Sustainable Tourism Conference, please visit www.ecotourismconference.org.
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