n September NOTO submitted a three part response to the Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study. As we have written about in past editions of The Outfitter, we believe that this study represents the most important opportunity to enhance tourism in Ontario that we have seen in a very long time. That is why NOTO dedicated a significant amount of time responding to the initiative including meetings with senior officials with the Ministry of Tourism and with the Study chair, Greg Sorbara. Following is the executive summary of our submission. Greg Sorbara is expected to announce his findings in the early spring of 2009.
This is a summary of NOTO’s response on behalf of the nature and outdoor tourism industry in Ontario, to the questions posed and the opportunity provided by Mapping Ontario’s Tourism Future. Our comments are organized around the questions posed in the study document, and we have provided background information and comments, followed by specific recommendations for action.
Although the nature and outdoor tourism industry is facing some of its toughest times in recent memory, we suggest the study focus must be much broader. Even during the relatively good times of a few years ago, Ontario’s tourism industry was under-performing relative to our competitors. We need to look for fundamentally new and different approaches if Ontario’s tourism industry is to live up to its real potential.
We also believe that the nature and outdoor tourism industry is particularly important because it represents Ontario’s tourism brand in the eyes of most consumers from outside the province. The health of this sector of the industry is essential to Ontario’s tourism reputation, as well as to the many individuals and communities who depend on its economic impact.
Now is the time for bold and decisive action. It is essential that we re-think many aspects of how we support and encourage tourism in Ontario. Many of the recommendations contained in this document urge significant shifts in how tourism is administered and supported in Ontario including:
Consider re-introducing loan guarantee programs such as the former Northern Ontario Development Corporation program to encourage investment and help operators be competitive
Strengthen and enhance the core functions within the Ministry of Tourism such as investment development and education
Significantly increase the level of Government support to non-marketing related tourism initiatives
Support the implementation of the recommendations contained in Moving Forward: A Resource-Based Tourism Industry Fit for the Future
Develop a region-based marketing strategy for Ontario that recognizes the limitations imposed by Ontario’s size and transportation infrastructure
Create funding models that provide for stability and growth of tourism organizations while insuring accountability and effectiveness
To view NOTO’s submission in its entirety visit http://www.noto.ca/tourismstudy
This article was taken from page 2 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, Winter 2008 Issue