Attendance at Huron County tourism events, attractions on the rise

Back row: Peter Drew, Kerry Creek B&B; Bob Marshall, Tourism Goderich; Cindy Fisher, County Tourism Co-ordinator; Mary Cardiff, Huron Country Playhouse; Tim Cumming, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. Front row: Laurie Ginn, Shelter Valley Campground; Rosemary Davis, H.O. Jerry; Joan Karstens, Brentwood on the Beach; Liz Ihrig, Hessenland Country Inn; Jenna Ujiye, County Tourism Marketer. Missing from photo: John Bezaire, Blyth Festival; Susan Mills, Grand Bend Chamber; Kevin Reid, Benmiller Inn; and Clair Soper, Clair on the Square B & B.

HURON COUNTY – Despite a number of challenges to the tourism industry, membership in the Huron Tourism Association increased this year.

The association now has 176 members even though business has been rocked by the 2011 tornado that hit the Goderich and Benmiller area, a Canadian dollar at or near par with the U.S. dollar, post-2001 decline in tourism from the United States, higher gas prices, and the lingering effects of the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

“The Board of Directors thanks Huron County’s tourism enterprises for their support,” said Tim Cumming, who is HTA’s president.

“These entrepreneurs are demonstrating their commitment to the growth of tourism, and the tourism industry is a pillar of our rural economy along with agriculture, manufacturing, and heritage and culture,” he said.

Cumming said despite the challenges, there are also many positive trends in the Huron County tourism industry. Attendance at special events and attractions is rising, according to the county’s new Annual Tourism Report. Also, Huron County is an active partner in Ontario’s Regional Tourism Organization 4, which encompasses Huron County, Perth County, Waterloo Region, and Wellington County. The tourism region is investing significantly in bringing tourists to the area through new websites and advertising, and advanced systems for tourists to book great getaway packages.

This is new investment in the tourism industry that has not existed before, he said.

Huron Tourism Association is also working in close partnership with tourism and business organizations and municipalities in the county and into adjacent counties to promote its attractions and experiences.

HTA, which has a volunteer board of directors of tourism representatives from throughout the county, continues to work in partnership with the County of Huron to attract tourists. One partnership project between the county and industry tourism association is the annual Huron County Vacation Guide. A spring run of 35,000 copies has dwindled to just a few thousand remaining for distribution. The industry tourism association also works with the county on other marketing including print media and advertising, broadcast and social media, conventions, websites, the Tourism Event and Brochure Swap, special events, culinary tourism promotion, and many other strategic tools.

“We’re only able to use all these marketing tools because we have association members who are committed to their industry,” Cumming said. “The support demonstrated by these forward-thinking enterprises is a solid indication to the County of Huron that the industry is strong and united and that’s a big reason why the county has been showing such steadfast and increasing support for tourism as a pillar of economic development.”

The county’s annual tourism report is available online.

For more information visit the county’s tourism website.

Written by on August 3, 2012 in Community News - No comments

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