Tourism is a pillar of the Peterborough economy. Over 1,000 businesses are directly involved in this sector, employing over 13,000 people in the Peterborough and Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Brock ridings, according to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. At the recent Annual General Meeting for Peterborough and the Kawarthas Tourism, Director of Tourism and Communications Fiona Dawson offered the following details:
- 3.45 million visitors annually, representing 57% of all visits to Region 8 in the province
- Those visitors spent $358 million in the local economy
- Most visitors are spending their time here on outdoor activities, checking out parks and historic sites
The spotlight will continue to shine on tourism as the province of Ontario is working toward developing a new strategic framework for this sector. The past few years have been challenging after the federal budget for tourism promotion was cut by 20% in 2013.
Knowing that the Ontario tourism industry is a “critical economic driver”, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has made a submission to the provincial government with some initial feedback in five areas:
- Where possible, steps should be taken to reduce the cumulative burden experienced by tourism operators As tourism crosses many ministries of government effort must be made to create a regulatory environment that is conducive to business growth.
- Improved coordination in Ontario’s tourism ecosystem is needed, especially to maximize the impact of scarce marketing resources Strategic marketing is needed to minimize duplicative or contradictory efforts because marketing is an essential component of tourist attraction and growth.
- Greater cooperation between the provincial and federal governments should be a priority How can Ontario leverage the efforts of the federal government to grow the tourism market in this province?
- Invest in trade-enabling infrastructure to facilitate greater travel within Ontario and internationally Such investments in road, air and rail will make tourism destinations more accessible for tourists.
- Outcomes of the strategic framework should be clearly defined and monitored Develop clearly defined and quantifiable targets to reach within a specific time frame to help determine the success of the new framework.
Over the next few months the OCC will be writing a more “substantive work on the steps needed to be taken to grow and support tourism in the province.” The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce will be part of the OCC’s working group on the report to be released in the fall.
We also attended the province's consultation session on the proposed framework in April.
If you are in the tourism sector and would like to provide feedback, reach us at: