Tourism Thunder Bay is currently attending the 2009 Ontario Tourism Summit being held at Caesar's Hotel and Casino in Windsor Ontario.
This year's event is the fifth annual gathering of Tourism marketing professionals from across the Province and is aptly titled "The Road Ahead". Over 400 delegates from Provincial, Federal and Municipal government tourism agencies, private operators and destination marketing organizations are hearing from some of the most influential voices in tourism and marketing, networking with each other and learning from each other's successes and experiences-good and bad.
For Tourism Thunder Bay, this is the venue in which Seven Day's With the Giant was conceived, where we placed second for marketing campaign under $25 000 in 2008 and where we continue to communicate with other partners to grow our tourism industry locally and regionally.
Today's sessions focused on changing consumer behaviors that we need to recognize and capture, turning our brand equity into sales and the collective efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, Canadian Tourism Commission and the Tourism Industry of Ontario to market our experiences more effectively, develop new products that consumers want, make smarter marketing decisions based on consumer research and get updates on what our government and industry associations are doing to lobby on everything from passport requirements to the HST to the need for enhanced tourism infrastructure investments.
This has also been a chance to see the local tourism economy in Windsor, experience some of their top visitor attractions, learn about their challenges and their successes and bring some of those good ideas home.
A high note of the conference so far has been a riveting presentation from Peter Yesawich, Chairman and CEO of Y Partnership. He provided a fantastic overview on Emerging lifestyle and travel trends and their implications for marketing Ontario in the year ahead. Understanding the emotional reasons that effect consumer travel behavior, how they seek out information on new travel experiences, how to appeal to them on an emotional level and understanding changes in their values provided me personally with a lot of new information to work with moving into out 2010 and 2011 marketing strategy years. Once presentations are available online, I'll endeavour to make their content available here.
In keeping with the theme of "The Road Ahead", the conference hall was adorned with some classic automobiles courtesy of the Automobile History Museum located in Windsor. On a personal note, the chance to see an authentic Shelby Cobra is a great bonus to the learning and networking environment here.
To read the conference agenda, visit www.ontariotourismsummit.com