Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tourism Thunder Bay releases its 2010 Marketing Partnership Opportunities

Tourism Thunder Bay is pleased to announce the release of its 2010 tourism marketing advertising partnership opportunities. Once again, we've kept our partnership opportunities simple, flexible and affordable to allow tourism operators of all sizes and budgets to participate.

Tourism Thunder Bay's acclaimed 2009 "Its in our Nature" campaign capitalizes on a enhances "Superior By Nature" brand for the city, positioning ourselves as one of Canada's great outdoor cities. By focusing on our unique connection to Lake Superior and stunning boreal adventures, we've been able to raise the profile of Thunder Bay among the 62% of North Americans who look for outdoor experiences when they travel, the number one travel experience motivator!

This shift towards focusing on the experience based traveller has already seen a positive impact as the local tourism economy holds steady during one of the industry's most challenging times in North America. Matching experiences and campaigns to specific target markets more than in the past has allowed for greater focus in reaching key leisure markets of outdoor seekers and touring (RV, motorcycle and auto clubs), convention and meeting traffic (education, health care, First Nation, mining and government sectors) group travel (motor coach and cruise vessels) and sport tourism markets.

Our stunning 84 page annual visitor magazine and new website presence provides numerous advertising opportunities to meet the needs and budgets of all tourism related businesses in and around Thunder Bay. Experience Thunder Bay once again sets the bar for providing detailed information and entertaining editorial that captivates visitors and residents alike. With over 120 000 print copies in circulation and over 40 000 downloads annually, the book is the must have resource for travellers. Distributed at over 400 visitor information center locations locally and regionally as well as to the local VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market, partners such as and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery credit it for increased visitation to their attractions.

The website,, has become the City's main call to action and is viewed by over 420 000 users annually to help them make trip planning decisions. Logo dock and banner advertisers see 10 000 to 30 000 click throughs annually from their ads on the web.

The deadline for taking advantage of our print opportunities is October 15, 2009. You can contact Rose Marie Mancusa, Marketing Coordinator, at 625-3648 or

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tourism Thunder Bay Receives Community Adjustment Fund Support for Cruise Ship Development

Kenora area M.P. Greg Rickford announced this morning that Tourism Thunder Bay has been successful in attracting $64,500 in Federal government support from Industry Canada for capital improvements to the Pool 6 Cruise vessel facility. This funding has been provided through the Community Adjustment Fund and is focused on helping Northern Ontario communities diversify their economies. The funding, approximately 1/3 the cost of the first phase of development, will allow us to make aesthetic and safety improvements to the site to better accommodate passengers and crew. Work in the first phase includes security upgrades, aesthetic improvements and structural dock repairs to the Pool 6 asset.

This is only the first step in a long term vision to transform Thunder Bay into a hub for the Great Lakes expedition cruise shipping market. With catalyst investments in the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation area and growing interest from other communities around the lake basin to find a niche in this growing global travel trend, we are well positioned to see new opportunities emerge in the future, opportunities that don't only benefit the tourism economy but the vessel supply industry as well.

Visit for more information.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Canadian Lodging Outlook has Thunder Bay Market holding Steady

There's no doubt that 2009 ranks up there as one of the most challenging years facing the Canadian travel industry, especially in markets that rely on U.S. visitors.

While I previously reported that Thunder Bay's hotel performance to the end of May was steady (0.0% change over y.t.d 2008), June saw performance dip slightly, ending up the first half of the year with a -0.6% change. Given passport requirements, slow U.S. economy any high Canadian dollar value, this decrease in demand should not be cause for too much concern. Given that every hotel market in Canada was down for the first 6 months of 2009 except Windsor (+4% change), Thunder Bay's room demand decline was still the most modest of every urban market in Canada.

Thunder Bay's 6 month average occupancy rate for 2009 is 62.3%, up from 62% in 2008. Average daily room rate is $93.13, down from $93.98 in 2008 and average revenue per room is $58.02, down slightly from $58.27 in 2008.

Individual July weekly performance in Thunder Bay has been mixed, with some declining weeks and others in the positive category but it appears overall, that our summer leisure traffic season appears to be weathering the industry's changing demographics remarkably well.

Our prediction for the remainder of the year sees a stable meeting and convention market kicking in late September to early December that will keep hotel demand steady and we anticipate Porter's ( arrival in the City at the end of June may help contribute to a strong fall corporate travel market.

To follow hotel performance, visit

Currency Exchange Rates for the Week of August 24th.

The Canadian currency remains strong against the U.S. dollar with the start of the August 24th trading week. As of this morning, the Canadian dollar was worth slightly more than ninety three cents U.S. Inversely, the U.S. dollar is trading at $1.07 CDN this morning.

Its important for Canadian tourism operators to keep on top on the currency fluxuations, particularly for those operating near the U.S. border where some visitors to the area may be paying with U.S. currency. Its also a good business practice for local businesses to offer a fair rate of exchange on U.S. currency. Even for those paying with credit cards, where the exchange rate is factored in automatically, its always good to know the exchange rate in the event they ask.

To keep up on the curency rates, visit

Thursday, August 20, 2009

June Border Stats buck the Trend in U.S. Travel to Thunder Bay

There has been a lot of speculation on the immediate impact of the U.S. Government's new passport requirements on cross border travelling starting June 1, 2009 and many border communities across Canada have already indicated noticable drops in American visitors.

I'm pleased to say, Thunder Bay is not one of those seeing the decline. Hot off the press from Stats Canada this morning, I'm thrilled to report that U.S. residents to Canada are actually up for June 2009 over 2008. This past June, the first month of the new passport requirements, saw 18,313 U.S. residents crossing into Canada at Pigion River, up from 18,243 in 2008. While it's a seemingly insignficant growth of less than 1%, its growth is a far cry from the 10-20% decline expected by most of us in the industry.

Same Day : 1786 (2009) 1656 (2008)
1 night: 399 (2009) 390 (2008)
2+ nights 16128 (2009) 16197 (2008)

the growth appears to have been primarily in the same day and 1 night overnight markets although the fact that the 2+ overnight stay markets were down only by 75 or so people.

What makes this all the more impressive is that the cold spring weather and slowing U.S. economy also added to challenges anticipated. The raw data reported early in July from the border office itself did point to a decrease in total number of automobiles by a staggering 22%. However, in evaluating the most recent breakdown that has separated American and Canadian traffic and identified people versus automobiles, it seems any decline was the result of Canadian's crossing only. This dries home the point that we can't take quick numbers too seriously but rather we have to analyse them in more detail to read what they really identify.

To the end of June, the first half of 2009 saw 38, 115 U.S. residents visit Canada through the Pigion River Center, up from 37,785 in 2008.

Lets hope this positive trend continues and with good data and consumer driven research and campaigns, we're certain to keep moving forward together as an industry.


Tourism Thunder Bay is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Seven Days With the Giant promotion, our signature summer tourism marketing campaign developed to showcase the city and area as one of Canada’s best outdoor cities to outdoor enthusiasts across North America.

This year’s winners, Bob Greer of Maplewood Minnesota and his wife Kathy invited their two friends from Texas, Jack and Jeanette Hammon, to experience all the Giant has to offer. While here, they’ve explored the park with their new Nikon cameras and binoculars while trying out their new camping equipment, enjoyed Thunder Bay’s unique cultural attractions, unique and first class accommodations and iconic culinary treats, enjoyed both a sailboat and floatplane adventure on Superior and will complete their visit to the city with an epic dinner hosted by Caribou Restaurant and Wine Bar.

Tourism Thunder Bay wishes to extend its thanks to all of the sponsors who made this year’s contest and campaign possible. The sponsors include the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Ontario Parks, Lake Superior Visits(tour coordination and guiding), Valhalla Inn (accommodation), (sail charter and accommodation), Wilderness North (float plane adventure), Caribou Restaurant and Wine Bar (dinner), National and Enterprise Car rentals (vehicle rentals), Gear Up for Outdoors (equipment package), The Hoito, Thunder Bay Historical Society, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Superior Outdoors magazine, Ruby Moon, Fort William Historical Park, Imagetech and Amethyst Mine Panorama.

Media are invited to the Valhalla Inn at 9:30 AM on Friday August 21st to meet with Bob, his wife and friends before they depart the city for home.

Trophy Garden Summer Reunion Brings Two Hundred RV Enthusiasts to Thunder Bay this Summer.

Tourism Thunder Bay is pleased to welcome the Trophy Gardens Summer Reunion, a group of U.S. based recreational vehicle owners who will be enjoying Thunder Bay’s Superior By Nature visitor experiences for five days.

Over 225 people are registered for this event, organized by local RV enthusiasts Carol Ahlstrand and Donna Hunter who winter in Texas. They extended an invitation to their winter neighbors and many jumped at the chance to explore the area this year. While the majority of them are exploring by recreational vehicle, others are arriving by automobile and staying at local hotels.

Promoting the Lake Superior circle tour drive for RV groups is an important part of our overall marketing strategy, and capitalizes on our community’s location on one of North America’s best scenic drives. This event alone is expected to inject over $166 000 into the local economy as these visitors tour local attractions, shop and explore. Our sponsorship of this event is being tested as a new approach to encouraging local road touring groups to organize local events that bring visitors and new revenue into the community. We congratulate the Ahlstrands and Hunters for their role as local ambassadors in a way that helps us grow the local tourism economy.

Councillor Rebecca Johnson, a huge supporter of tourism initiatives and myself were invited to their sit down supper this past tuesday and both of us had a chance to bring our welcome from Council and the city's tourism industry. While a seemingly small gesture for us, they loved feeling welcome and having a City Councillor there made their days. In mingling afterwards, I heard nothing but positive comments from the more than 225 people in attendance, telling us how friendly and accommodating everyone in the community had been to them and even the ease in which they were processed at the border.

The event is being held at the KOA Campground in Thunder Bay and runs from August 17 to the 21st. Stop in and say hello if you have a chance. They love feeling welcome in our community.