Tourism Thunder Bay is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for a group of motor coach operators from Ontario and the U.S. this afternoon. Ironically, the five are flying into the city rather than driving on a coach but while here, they'll tour some of Thunder Bay's iconic visitor attractions and learn a little about the city's hidden gems - those important little attractions and events that are key to visitor retention.
The motor coach market has rebounded with the increase in fuel prices as mature travellers look to exploring without having to burn fuel in their personal vehicles. These pay one price adventures appeal to a wide boomer demographic and our location on the Lake Superior Circle Tour as well as on the Trans Canada journey give us a strategic advantage as a stop over location.
This is one of a number of group travel and media familiarization trips the City is welcoming in 2009 with an increased focus on working with the travel trade. Attracting cruise ships, motor coaches and caravan groups such as RVs and motorcycle tourers translates into hundreds and even thousands of visitors coming in with the same marketing investment as attracting individual travellers.
This familiarization tour is a partnership the City has in Ontario's North, a collective including the City, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and FedNor. The collective leverages funding to allow Northern Ontario Cities to have a greater marketing presence in the travel trade, touring and media segments.