When it comes to the question of where visitors to the North of Superior region come from, it is a demographic that is split 50/50, says North of Superior Tourism Association (NOSTA) executive director Bruce Fallen.
NOSTA has submitted an application for funding support for the development of a four-season events and festivals strategy and marketing budget.
“That will allow NOSTA to actively promote events and festivals within the entire region and increase visitation to those events. It will give the events and festivals a higher profile,” he says.
“We’re going to run the program for one year and we’re just getting started,” he says.
The first initiative to get underway is the publishing and distribution of a 32-page events and festivals guide for the North of Superior region. The first 80,000 copies of the guide are going to be inserted in the Lake Superior Circle Tour guide and will be circulated throughout the region and into the United States.
Another 50,000 copies of the events and festivals guide will be circulated throughout Northern Ontario. People will be encouraged to fill out surveys to help gauge the success of events and festivals in the region, and to gain a better understanding of where visitors are coming from. To encourage them to take part in the survey, NOSTA is offering participants three “high-value” prizes, Fallen says.
The money will also help in the redevelopment and enhancement of the NOSTA Web site, which will include an online summary of the events and festivals guide and the survey. Fallen says the money will also go toward radio and newspaper advertising within Northern Ontario and also in the Midwest U.S. markets. NOSTA is also advertising with Attractions Ontario and the Ontario Tourism Summer Experience Guide.
“We now have to look into our major U.S. and Canadian markets,” he says. “Fifty per cent come from the south of the border and the rest are driving through from other parts of Canada like southern Ontario and the West. What we want to do is entice these people to stop, and by having the radio campaign and local Northern Ontario advertising, we hope we will encourage them to stop in visitors centres and pick up the events and festivals guide.”