By GIANNI UBRIACO
Extending from Port Severn to Killarney and hidden among 30,000 small islands and countless inland lakes lies Georgian Bay. Georgian Bay is approximately 190 kilometres long and 80 kilometres wide with a maximum depth of 165 metres. The area is sheltered from the lake by Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Peninsula. In addition to overflowing with countless forests, lakes and streams, the area is also recognized as being a four-season vacation destination with excellent waterfront facilities for boating, fishing and sightseeing cruises.
However, that is not good enough for one local organization that, along with the Parry Sound and Area Community Development Centre, is looking to make the area even more attractive to people.
The Georgian Bay Marketing Partnership is an organization established approximately seven months ago to encourage partnerships among Georgian Bay tourism operators. Marty Peterson, tourism marketing manager, says the organization is currently in the process of identifying the target market for a new marketing campaign they are working on to establish the area from Port Severn to Killarney under the brand name East Georgian Bay. The organization is currently in the process of putting together this marketing effort in the hopes of increasing the tourist season and the length of time tourists remain in the area.
Too often, tourists stop by the area for a short visit and very quickly go on their way without spending a whole lot of time or money in the area, he says. That does not bode well for the tourism sector, he says, but he points out that it also means those tourists are missing out on seeing everything Georgian Bay has to offer.
“It is just a beautiful area,” Peterson concludes. “It has great scenery, great sunsets...it is just a refreshing area.”
So far, the organization has established an office, hired a manger, developed a draft marketing plan, and they have worked with advertising agencies to see how they can market Georgian Bay as an area to enjoy all year round. Peterson says the next step will be to gather all of the information they have received and implement their new marketing strategies on the Internet. Peterson believes that the new marketing techniques, slogans and images they plan on using will go a long way in making Georgian Bay even more attractive to tourists. He also hopes the Web site and the entire marketing campaign will create more awareness of the area and what it has to offer.
The organization has held various matchmaking types of events to market the area. Recently, for example, they held an event in which members of the all-terrain vehicle industry were invited to connect with other tourist operators with the goal of partnering in order to enhance adventure tourism in the area.
The organization received $100,000 in funding from FedNor.www.discover-georgianbay.ca