Northern Ontario Regional Tourism Organization 13, was incorporated in April of 2011. 

Vision Statement of Northern Ontario Regional Tourism Organization

The Northern Ontario RTO will begin to build a competitive and sustainable tourism Industry in Region 13 that maximizes the region's potential to successfully attract visitors, grow spending, and to achieve the goals and objectives of "Discovering Ontario, a report on the future of tourism", and the Northern Tourism Marketing Strategy.

The Northern Ontario Regional Tourism Organization is a Not for Profit Regional Tourism Organization that will coordinate, align and invest in sub-regional programs and become the lead in identified pan northern management functions; co-ordination of marketing, product development, workforce and industry training,and investment attraction. (extracted from the General section of the RTO13 policy manual

What is RTO 13 working on? 

RTO 13 Board of Directors created a Product Development & Destination Development Plan Working Committee to oversee two major initiatives for 2011-2012; create a Destination Development Plan for Northern Ontario and identify product development projects that will build the capacity of RTO13.

The first initiative is to create what is called a Destination Development Plan for Northern Ontario.  This plan will adopt the findings from the Greg Sorbara Report Commissioned in 2009: Discovering Ontario - A Report on The Future of Tourism. 

To be a little more precise, the plan will focus on four pillars:

  • Product Development
  • Capacity Building
  • Investment Attraction
  • Marketing  

This a new undertaking for Northern Ontario, it will be the first time we have assessed all these needs in one collective report to make Northern Ontario a more attractive and welcoming destination.  The report will include a multitude of consultations across Northern Ontario to assess the needs of each sub region and then derive a strategy around those needs.  It is expected some of the needs will require several years to implement and for that reason, this strategy will focus on implementing projects over the next five years.  It is an extremely daunting project when you consider the geography, the varying interests across the regions, the limited budget and the state of our tourism industry but it is also an extremely exciting project when you consider the impact these efforts could have on tourism in the north.  RTO 13 encourages you to start thinking about what is needed in Northern Ontario to make our great piece of this country a better place to visit. Stayed tuned in the coming months for your opportunity to attend a consultation session or an avenue for you to provide input.  We need your thoughts to make this a true Northern Ontario Strategy that represents the needs of our tourism stakeholders!

The second initiative this committee will embark on is to oversee the process to identify product development projects for 2011-2012.  As you may recall, during the first year of existence for RTO 13, we were working within what was called Priority Projects.  A call for applications was made and throughout the course of year one, RTO 13 worked with industry partners to deliver on these projects. 

For 2011-2012, or year two, this working committee will determine the product development projects to receive funding from RTO 13.  Based on discussions to date, the committee will not be entertaining applications for projects this fiscal year. Considerations for product development projects will be come from an analysis of the priority projects from year one that will build capacity within RTO 13 and its tourism partners. In the absence of a strategy to lead key investments in product development, capacity building or investment attraction and with a proven Northern Ontario Marketing Strategy in place, the board of directors decided to dedicate over 70% of the 2011-2012 budget into key marketing strategies.  (information copied from RTO13 September 2011 newsletter)


The current Northern Ontario Tourism Marketing Strategy (2007-2012) is set to expire at the end of this year.  In partnership with the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Northern Office and on behalf of the Northern Ontario Tourism Industry, RTO 13 engaged the services of Mitchell Westlake to develop a "second generation' marketing strategy to grow and develop tourism in the north over the next five years (2012-2017).

This strategy will include defining the roles and responsibilities for tourism marketing by industry stakeholders, including RTO 13, it will identify, evaluate and prioritize marketing opportunities and develop an implementation approach that will avoid duplication and stimulate alignment with the various tourism partners.

The current Northern Ontario Tourism Marketing Strategy identifies segments, markets, targets and market delivery and will provide the direction for marketing strategies for RTO 13 in 2011-2012.  With over $3M allocated to marketing Northern Ontario for 2011-2012 it is imperative RTO 13 established a framework to ensure key tactical campaigns are implemented with the appropriate management tools to drive them.  Furthermore, RTO 13 recognizes the importance of working collaboratively with tourism partners in Northern Ontario and as such, in July 2011, issued eleven expressions of interests to solicit the services from qualified parties to manage Sub Regional Marketing Strategies for various market segments found within the three sub regions A, B & C of Northern Ontario.(information copied from RTO13 September 2011 newsletter)



In February 2009, the Government of Ontario released Discovering Ontario: A report on the future of tourism. This report provides four broad strategic proposals and 20 specific recommendations to revitalize and grow tourism in the province. Discovering Ontario is the result of the comprehensive Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study led by Greg Sorbara, the MPP for Vaughan and former Finance Minister.

'The new world of tourism is ripe with opportunity. But tourism continues to face long- and short-term challenges, including a strong Canadian dollar, a slowing U.S. economy, changing demographics and greater global competition. If Ontario is to improve its market share, we need to be smarter and more innovative in how we work.' (quote from 'Discovering Ontario: A report on the Future of Tourism')

The goal of the Competitiveness Study was to research the state of tourism in Ontario and review best practices in North America and around the world.

The report made a strong case for the establishment of tourism regions to pave the way for a stronger, better organized and more competitive tourism industry in Ontario.


The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has supported Ontario's tourism partners to develop Regional Tourism Organizations in the province's 13 new tourism regions. Each Regional Tourism Organization should be developed to be independent, industry-led and not-for-profit. Each is responsible for building and supporting competitive and sustainable tourism regions. And the regions will help to attract more visitors, generate more economic activity, and create more jobs across the province.


Northern Ontario is referred to as one region (Region 13) with three sub regions; 13A, 13B, and 13C. 

 Map of Northern Ontario Tourism Regions, showing region 13

It is the intent that one tourism region for the north will allow better coordination of all activities at a regional level. The aim is to represent the local industry with programs of interest specific to an individual sub region in order to encourage coordination and cooperation.


The Three Sub Regions can be downloaded in PDF

Region 13 a

Region 13 b

Region 13 c

To view a more comprehensive breakdown of the provincial tourism regions please visit :

Tourism Regions


NOTO 386 Algonquin Avenue, North Bay, ON P1B 4W3 • T 705.472.5552 • F 705.472.0621 • info@noto.net
Website designed by Sofa Communications