Motorcycle touring around Lake Superior is gaining a lot more marketing and partnership attention over the past year with the development of the "Ride Lake Superior" initiative. With the movement moving very quickly in early 2011 from an RTO driven capacity building exercise to a full on bi national development and marketing partnership, this project has galvanized the entire lake basin's tourism industry and fostered some great new dialogue and partnership discussions across borders.
Recently the program gained a huge boost from our good friends and partners at Lake Superior Magazine. Paul, Cindy, Konny and Bob and their entire team recently featured motorcycle touring in their latest issue of the magazine in an article aptly titled "Looping The Lake". The Lake Superior Circle Tour has been around as a brand for well over forty years but its only been recently that its specifically targeted the motorcycle segment. Its was critical not to create a confusing or competing brand in the process but to bring in partners with strong leadership ties to the brand and create a complimentary brand that speaks specifically to the needs and wants of the rider. We quickly found enthusiasm from Lake Superior Magazine, the leaders in promoting the lake and keepers of the Circle Tour brand.
The article is an excellent in depth look at the lake's epic touring route and what it means to riders and the industry. An sidebar article also highlights the Ride Lake Superior initiative. On a personal note, the article references my hidden passion for riding as I've been collecting and storing gear at my office for some time - hiding it from my wife who believes(and probably rightfully so) that my attention deficit disorder does not compliment motorcycle ownership. While I've never held a licence, I used to ride around in farmer's fields as a teen and this year I'm going for my licence and taking the course.
Each region around the lake draws from a specific source market. Thunder Bay from the northwest and western Canada, North Shore of Minnesota from the Twin Cities, Michigan's upper Peninsula from Detroit and Chicago and the Sault Ste Marie area from Southern Ontario. These are all huge markets to tap into and its unlikely any single region would have the resources or success to tap into all of them individually. To the motorcycle visitor, they will be drawn into various starting points around he lake and travel through each area, extending the visitor experience and impacts to individual communities. Attracting ten thousand new riders to the lake can result in up to sixty thousand new hotel room nights, tens of thousands of meals and attraction person visits. The new economic impact can easily reach upwards of $9 million annually for the lake basin's tourism economy. Given that approximately 85 visitors create one full time job in tourism, the impacts become even more important.
The initiative is important in that it unifies the individual tourism regions around the lake to foster the growth of a specific travelling demographic that is on the rise and knows no geo political boundaries. Its an important catalyst in improving tourism communication across borders and aims to grow a segment in a way that makes the pie bigger for the entire industry. Water is our largest tourism asset and Lake Superior is the nucleus of that. Opportunities exist to grow the bi national partnerships, collaborate and share knowledge and resources to create a much larger impact. Having allies like Lake Superior Magazine makes the process that much easier.
This year, Ride Lake Superior partners will be expanding the marketing reach, attracting motorcycle journalists to the the region and continuing to provide local and regional training for the tourism industry on becoming "motorcycle ready"