Friday, November 6, 2009

Spreading Positive News About our Tourism Potential

Tourism Thunder Bay has been making its rounds recently, sharing our tourism marketing and product development philosophy with a number of local, regional and provincial groups. Its a major part of our strategy to share our outlook, successes and ideas with industry and expand the city's reputation as being on the cutting edge of tourism development in Ontario.

On November 2, we presented an overview of Thunder Bay's waterfront and cruise shipping infrastructure strategy to a group of 22 economic development professionals from across North Western Ontario. the forum, sponsored by EDCO ( and the Ministry of Tourism's Investment Development Office ( , provided valuable information to community development officers considering major capital infrastructure project s to enhance their tourism economies. Thunder Bay's new mixed use waterfront development enhancements at Prince Arthur's Landing will create over $202 million in community economic impacts and employ over 200 people once completed. It will bring people to the waterfront on a more year around basis and the accommodation and residential components will see more people live and stay in the downtown core, increasing the opportunities for successful downtown revitalization.

November 3rd found Tourism Thunder Bay speaking at the annual Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario ( conference held in Sault Ste Marie. Our topic was "Business as Unusual. How Outdoor Tourism Operators can Build Successful Partnerships with the Cities Around Them." In a year that has seen numerous challenges for the traditional resource based tourism industries in Northern Ontario, we aimed to establish a positive message about thinking outside of the box and looking at new ways to partner with urban partners to increase opportunities for new markets.

People who know me know that I hate negativity and self loathing. It doesn't do anything to sell our experiences to the world, let alone ourselves. We have to take the changes in the tourism environment to be catalysts for innovative, positive and constructive new directions. We spoke about the successes of the City's new strategy to promote the city as one of Canada's Best Outdoor Cities and gateway to some of the world's best outdoor experiences. We touched on the importance of understanding customer's needs, improving quality and applying the principles of sustainable tourism to meet the growing demands of today's traveler. The presentation was well received and we've already had interest from regional operators asking how they can link into the City of Thunder Bay's marketing strategy and build partnerships with local hotels, retailers and others to extend the stay for their clients in the region.

One of the trends we've seen develop is the linking of golf and angling. Thunder Bay offers some great golf "stay and play" packages and we encourage regional fishing and hunting operators to promote this package as a way to attract at least one night's stay for their clients in the city. These guests play golf, rent clubs, dine and spend a night in the city and that increases the economic impact for everyone. Go to for more information on these packages and how you're lodge can help promote it.

On a related note, thanks to Harold Wilson at the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce for his positive shout out to Tourism Thunder Bay. We recently provided an overview of the Tourism Division to the Chamber's Small Business Committee and had some great dialogue begin that will undoubtedly lead to some new enhanced partnership opportunities between the Chamber and the City around the tourism industry. This is a presentation we're always happy to provide to any group, big or small so feel free to email me at to arrange a time to speak to your organization.

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