Campbell grills tourism minister

Press Release

Local MPP Sarah Campbell is asking Tourism and Culture minister Michael Chan to explain the reasons for his decision to close Ontario Travel Information Centres in Fort Frances, Rainy River, and Kenora.
Speaking in Question Period yesterday, Campbell asked the minister to explain his decision in light of newly-released numbers that do not support his story.
“This government cited declining numbers as the reason for the decision to close tourist information centres in Kenora, Fort Frances, and Rainy River, but the government’s own numbers show that the traffic in Pigeon River is lower yet it remains open,” she noted.
“Will the minister explain the reason for his decision?” she asked.
While the minister has maintained the decision was based solely on numbers alone, figures show visits to the Pigeon River centre numbered 23,849, as opposed to 32,506 visits to the Kenora one.
While visits to all seasonal centres have declined across the province since 2002, Pigeon River has experienced the second-sharpest drop in tourist traffic of all seasonal operations.
Kenora, meanwhile, is second only to Prescott in retaining its visits.
Coincidentally, the OTIC in Prescott also is closing.
“The numbers simply do not add up,” charged Campbell. “The minister is ducking the question and he needs to explain the decision.
“He says the government is going to focus on online marketing, but ignores the infrastructure gap,” she added. “He says they are based on numbers, but the numbers don’t match the decision.
“People in my riding, and across the province, deserve to know why these decisions are being made and why this minister is being so evasive in answering the question,” she stressed.
As a result, Campbell is launching a “not for sale” campaign in hopes of convincing the minister to reverse his decision.
The campaign was to be formally launched at 11 a.m. this morning at the now closed OTIC at the Manitoba border near Kenora.
Video of yesterday’s Question Period exchange can be viewed at