November 2, 2005

Premier-ranked Tourist Destination project to begin in York Region


NEWMARKET – As part of tourism development and promotion activities this year, York Region has commenced a Premier-ranked Tourist Destination project to survey and evaluate local accommodation, attractions, business improvement areas, festivals and events, and the food and beverage industry.
“The objective is to obtain a very clear picture of York Region’s status as a tourist destination, its strengths and weaknesses, and the directions that might be pursued to further improve the Region’s success,” said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “By measuring destination performance against a consistent yardstick, the decision-making process will be transparent, fair and more responsive to addressing the need for ongoing investment in tourism development.”
Over the coming weeks, York Region will send researchers out to gather information through interviews with local hospitality industry business operators.  Included on the survey are questions on visitation patterns, future opportunities and accessibility.
“We look forward to speaking with our many tourism partners in gathering this data,” said Town of Markham Regional Councillor Frank Scarpitti, Chair of the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee.  “In a very short period of time, we’ll have a clear focus for our future efforts to take back to an expanded network of tourism stakeholders, which makes this an exciting project.”
By definition, a premier-ranked tourist destination must have attributes with well above average performance that can be marketed, renewed and managed in a sustainable manner, and used to leverage improved performance in a tourism marketplace.  A premier-ranked tourist destination is “a place more attractive than the rest, a place a tourist should consider first when making travel plans.”

With the aim of enabling York Region to build on its current strengths to become “the best it can be,” the Premier-ranked Tourist Destination project will deliver:
• An inventory of the tourism resources and assets in York Region, including data on what attracts visitors to York Region and the strengths and opportunities that are available
• A solid foundation for a tourism development strategy, including data on the market gaps and opportunities for improvement
• Priorities for and the economic benefits of new investment
• Recommendations for the future growth and sustainability of the tourism industry
• A clear appraisal of York Region's current competitive position in the tourism marketplace
• A benchmark to measure York Region's tourism performance and market position over time
Researchers already are making their calls and will continue to do so over the coming weeks.  While this process requires a commitment of time and energy, the investments of time and effort will be rewarded by the insights and directions gained.
The Region’s project is supported by Service Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism.  Developed by Ontario in 2001, the Premier-ranked Tourist Destination methodology is a disciplined approach that produces consistent and comparable assessments of tourism areas.  It is an assessment and evaluation tool that is used to inventory and analyze an area's status in the tourism marketplace and to identify strategic targets for future development.
To obtain information about the survey, please call York Region Tourism at 1-877-464-9675, Ext. 1503 or e-mail  
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at:
Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region
Phone: (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675 (toll-free), Ext. 1238 

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