Ontario Tourism to discover focus and new media trends

Chaired by former finance minister Greg Sorbara, the Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study makes recommendations for more effective campaigns.

A new report unveiled this week by former Ontario finance Minister Greg Sorbara suggests a re-developed marketing strategy to help grow the province’s tourism into a $42-billion industry by 2020.

The Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study, chaired by Sorbara, addresses in a few recommendations Ontario’s need to invest more resources in marketing and consumer research, and have its marketing efforts become more ‘focused and effective.’ It will do this by prioritizing new and best-prospect markets, making better use of new media trends, and reducing the emphasis on overall brand by marketing specific destinations and experiences within Ontario, the study suggests.

The report does not indicate how money much should be allocated to marketing specifically, but does state that the funding needed to boost tourism should come from both the private and public sectors. The Ministry of Tourism, which is reviewing the 20 recommendations, uses outside agencies for creative and media buying, and also relies on in-house agency Ontario Tourism and Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) to promote tourism.

Key recommendations include:

• Marketing strategically to visitors from Mexico and China; targeting older upscale travellers, retired couples with disposable income, and young go-getter demos; and tapping into the mature French-speaking market in Quebec.

• Redesigning the marketing role so that one agency becomes the marketing lead for promoting the provincial tourism brand, but push regional assets and niche tourism in campaigns by promoting sports, culture, eco and agricultural tourism.

• Increasing e-marketing and online booking.

The Minister of Tourism, Monique Smith, will be reviewing the recommendations with her colleagues in government and in the industry.