Monday, January 3, 2011

Ministry of Tourism and Culture Unveils New Website.

Just prior to Christmas, 2010, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture rolled out their new website to reflect the merging of the tourism and culture portfolios.

Tourism is a moving portfolio and it's policy home, at all levels of government in most jurisdictions around the globe tends to bounce around. Sometimes its a stand alone and often, its merged with Parks, Culture, Economic Development and other related portfolios. Currently, its merger with Culture reflects the important role cultural tourism such as historical attractions, culinary, and performing arts play in the overall tourism industry in Ontario. I never get too hung up on its alignment and merger with other portfolios so long as the tools and resources are there at the appropriate levels to move our industry forward.

Because of the merger, the new website takes an additional click to get to the real meat of the tourism industry information. However, once there, the information resource selection is a little more streamlined and all the relevant information the industry needs to make most major and minor business development and marketing decisions are still right there.

A tool within the site we use extensively is the TREIM model, an online customizable research tool that allows event and attractions organizers estimate the economic impacts of their activities. Its one of the main reports we run for every major event being planned with our involvement or advice.

There are some quick links and some new customized research options now available to assist regions, census and metropolitan areas understand their main geographic visitor markets a little more quickly, albeit with some gaps, particularly with respect to the US markets. I was having some fun over the Christmas holidays playing with the new Geotravel stats tool and if you take the time to understand what the data means, its easy to apply to your own operational decisions.

Unfortunately, the regional tourism profiles, one the old tourism sites best "quick reference" features, is currently not linked up and hopefully that gets sorted out quickly as its been one of most trusted quick sources of information when providing an overview of the economic impacts of tourism, something all of us in the industry have to continuously educate our communities on. However, there is no lack of relevant local and regional data there in the meantime.

For anyone in the regional tourism industry, the Ministry's site should be bookmarked on your computer, (right alongside this one, of course) for quick reference. Its probably one of the industry's best tourism research tools in Canada.

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