The September Terry Fox Visitor Centre registrations are in and as predicted with respect to the severity of the global economic environment, leisure visitation to the city, visitor registrations have posted a 14% decline over September 2007.
Total Visitor Registrations to the centre were 2635 versus 3085 in September 2007.
Canadian Registrations continue to dominate, accounting for 1836 registrations, down from 1913 in 2007. Canadian travel stands at 70% of toal visitors with the majority being from Ontario
Ontario - 1146
Manitoba - 150
Quebec - 69
BC - 153
Alberta - 178
Both Alberta and British Columbia posted gains in 2008 over 2007.
The United States market, at 682 registrations, is down 15% from September 2007. However, Minnesota posted increases in 2008.
The overseas market registrations were down sharply to 117 in September 2008, from 364 in 2007.
For the entire third quarter of 2008, total Registrations at the Terry Fox Centre were down 19% over the third quarter of 2007.
However, the corporate and sport tourism markets remained steady, with hotel occupancy rates in the city remaining on par with the 2007. A stronger corporate travel market in Q 3, helped by conferences such as SAREX, kept visitation in those segments ahead of 2007 levels. The Ontario Youth Diving and Swimming Championships, held back to back in July 2008 helped create several zero vacancy weekends in Thunder Bay this summer.
Given the challenges facing the leisure travel markets, Tourism Thunder Bay has increased marketing and promotional investment in the corporate and sport tourism markets. We have had an increased presence this year at Incentive Works and other meeting planners forums, and have been focusing on the mining, government, Aboriginal, health sciences and education sectors for hosting conferences in the city.