Tourism study looking for input

Peggy Revell

The Ontario government will be coming to Kenora on Tuesday, Sept. 30 to hear from people about what needs to be done for the tourism industry.
The consultation is a part of the Ministry of Tourism’s competitiveness study that was launched back in March.
Chaired by MPP Greg Sorbara, the study is looking to citizens for “new ideas, priorities and plans, synergy and strategies, inventive innovations, creative thinking, and constructive criticism” to make Ontario tourism more competitive with the rest of the world.
“We’re encouraging people to participate as much as they can,” said Mark Thompson, communications advisor to the competitiveness study.
With Ontario being so large, the 10 consultation locations were selected based upon “the ability to draw stakeholders and participants from a few important areas from around that region at the same time,” noted Thompson, which also gives participants a chance to share their experiences with each other.
Areas such as Kenora also were chosen based upon the “uniqueness of the regional product offering,” he added.
Alongside the consultation meetings and submissions being collected, Sorbara has been travelling around the province hearing from people informally. As well, Thompson said the assistant deputy minister for tourism recently was in Thunder Bay to talk with people.
Thompson added the ministry recognizes the majority of tourism in Northern Ontario comes in a north/south direction, as opposed to the rest of Ontario that sees an east/west pull.
To make sure the unique needs of the north are heard, he’s urging people from Northern Ontario to make submissions to the study—even if they aren’t making a presentation.
“All the submissions are being collected, collated, and added into the research mix, so they’re vital to this whole process because we certainly recognize that not everybody can get to the consultations,” he said.
“Even regardless of where they are, there’s still the question of people having busy schedules and that sort of thing.”
Anyone can make a submission to the study, Thompson said, noting any written submission carries the same weight as any oral

presentation.
“So they can write in, they can do it online, they can phone in,” he stressed.
The full scope of the competitiveness study can be viewed online at www.tourismstudy.ca
Also included is a discussion paper outlining the areas being looked at, such as:
•What are our best prospects?
•How can we provide the experience tourists want?
•How do we market Ontario?
•How can we ensure a well-trained workforce?
•What are the appropriate roles for governments?
•How can the industry work together to achieve success?
The discussion paper is available in PDF, Microsoft Word, or web browser format, and submissions in response to these questions can be submitted in various ways, including electronically via pdf, by mail, or by an online submission form.
The deadline for submissions is Sept. 30.
Those wishing to make a presentation at the consultations must be registered in advance. Presenters are asked to give a short two-three minute oral presentation, with the time and number of presentations during the consultation depending on the numbers attending.
Extra material to accompany the oral presentations can be submitted after the session through the website or by e-mailing tourism.competitivenss.study@ontario.ca
Additional information about the study also can be reached by calling toll-free 1-866-320-9845, faxing 1-416-325-6985, or via online at www.tourismstudy.ca


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