Friday, May 1, 2009

Ontario's Competitiveness Strategy Provides an Opportunity for Input

A few month's back, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism unveiled the blueprint to revitalize Ontario's tourism industry and improve its competitiveness on the global stage. If you haven't read this yet, its a must read for the industry and can be accessed at The report's 20 recommendations are all solid although there are not a lot of surprises with respect to the elements of the tourism economy we can improve upon. One thing is for certain. Its great to see them spelled out and movement being made to implement them.

The Province has been quick to begin unveiling some of the recommendations already, with the notable inclusion of $40 million in the 2010 budget towards regional tourism marketing. That $40 million, as you may recall, is the net from a proposed Province wide destination marketing fee being proposed. Essentially, every accommodation provider in the Province will collect a hotel room levy, with the proceeds reinvested back in the industry. While it is estimated that $100 million could be collected, retailers collecting the new tax are expected to be able to apply input tax credits, meaning that they will get back what they pay out for supplies. This is an exciting time for the future of the tourism industry in the Province but some tough decisions must be made to move us collectively forward.

The Province is currently undertaking a series of consultations across Ontario to get input into the proposed new Tourism Destination Marketing and Management regions with their own organizational structures . Two of these DMMOs have been proposed for Northern Ontario - northeast and northwest - and as you can imagine, this is creating quite a lot of spirited discussion. To that end, its imperative that the industry provide their feedback into the proposal and help craft destination management zones that are effective and make sense.

I encourage industry representatives to submit their input to Rob Ballantyne at the Ministry of Tourism by emailing your constructive and creative suggestions to him at To help you craft your submission, follow the following questions that have been posed at the various input sessions.

Determining criteria for regional boundaries resulting in successful regional tourism management

Think about: A region being destinations that work together

Question 1: What criteria should be used to determine regional boundaries?

Think about:
Iconic attractions within an area
A well established brand
Tourism travel patterns
Minimum level of tourism activity
The potential for travel packaging

Question 2: How should the boundaries be drawn and who should draw them?

Think about:
Whether you have suggestions for specific boundaries

Question 3: How should the name of each region be decided?

Think about:
What the process should involve
The people / organizations who should be involved

Describing roles and responsibilities of a Destination Marketing and Management Organization

Question 1: What should DMMOs do?

Think about:
Leadership and coordination
Marketing and packaging
Quality of service/experience
Workforce development
Investment and product development

Question 2: How should DMMOs be organized?

Think about:
What is needed to put them in place
The appropriate governance model (e.g.
board structure, partnerships, success

Question 3: How would the DMMO work with others involved in tourism?

Think about:
Ministry of Tourism
Provincial marketer
Other levels of government

Question 4: The 2009 Ontario Budget announced funding for tourism regions. What factors should be considered in distributing the funding?

Think about:
What is needed to become sustainable
The expectations of DMMOs that receive funding
Other sources of funding
How existing partnerships can be further

How to move forward to establish a DMMO in this area

Question 1: What challenges or issues would have to be addressed?

Question 2: What are the strengths you have to build on in your area?

1 comment:

Tom Christoffel said...

Hello -
Google’s Blog alert sent me to this post because of the term “regional boundaries.” This should be useful to subscribers of Regional Community Development News, so I will include a link to it in the May 13 issue. The newsletter will be found at Please visit, check the tools and consider a link. Tom