November 10, 2009
Media Release

York Region launches long term tourism development strategy

10-year blueprint for efficient and sustainable growth of Region’s tourism infrastructure
NEWMARKET- The Regional Municipality of York has released the Long-Term Tourism Destination Development Strategy 2009-2019, a 10-year blueprint for tourism development in York Region.  The document was distributed to tourism industry stakeholders today at the Region’s Annual Tourism Conference held at the Tuscany Event Centre in the Town of Aurora.
 
“This strategy is important as it provides us with a framework to assess opportunities to develop and invest in York Region’s tourism infrastructure,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “We are committed to ensure that tourism plays a vital role in sustaining York Region’s growth and prosperity.”
 
In York Region, overnight and same-day visitors spent $335 million in 2007, contributing 0.4 per cent to our gross domestic product (GDP) and 0.7 per cent to our employment.  York Region is on the doorstep of Canada’s most important destination …quot; the City of Toronto …quot; which receives 20 per cent of all domestic and international visitors to Canada and 10 per cent of spending.
 
“Smart investments, enhanced infrastructure and improvements to the quantity and quality of tourism products and experiences will help expand our tourism attractors,” said Town of East Gwillimbury Mayor Jamie Young, Chair of York Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee.  “This strategy will guide the Region as we develop a sustainable and prosperous tourism industry over the next 10 years.”
 
York Region’s goal is to increase tourism’s contribution to the Region’s GDP to one per cent by 2019 and to two per cent by 2029.  This would represent tourist spending of $1.1 billion.  According to a provincial economic impact model, spending of this magnitude would generate more than 6,000 new jobs directly related to tourism.
 
The document outlines five key strategy directions where tourism as a business will be conducted:
 
1. Strengthen Strategic Marketing
• Leverage strengths of existing industry to stimulate demand and boost York Region as a four- seasons tourism destination
• Assess opportunities to build clusters around high potential product segments
• Work with the Region’s multi-cultural communities to encourage visiting friends and family opportunities
 
2. Expand Tourism Attractors
• Develop arts, culture and heritage attractions that are unique to York Region
• Leverage the Region’s rich diversity of arts and cultural experiences
• Recognize the importance that festivals and events play in tourism and local communities and cultivate larger marquee events to gain economic and social benefits
• Consider developing an Oak Ridges Moraine Interpretative Centre
• Develop convention facilities for York Region to be more competitive
 
3. Leadership and Governance
• Reconstituting the Tourism Advisory Group to support marketing, investment and expansion initiatives
• Establish an internal steering committee of regional and municipal departments dedicated to tourism growth
• Enhance accessibility to education and training for business and employees to address labour market challenges and service delivery in the hospitality and tourism industry
 
4. Sustainable Funding
• Identify new funding programs, capital sources and investment opportunities for investors and ensure sustainable funding is in place
• Take a coordinated and multi-jurisdictional approach to sponsorship generation, grant applications and funder resources
 
5. Product Sector Development
• Using tools such as the Customer Service Tool Kit to build upon customer service as a key tourism objective
• Stimulate growth not only of primary attractors but also secondary and tertiary attractors that have the potential to build their capacity
• Cultivate the potential to host and bid on sport events
 
To obtain a copy of the draft Long Term Tourism Destination Development Strategy, please visit www.york.ca and the Planning and Development Services webpages or contact Cathy Downard-Parmer at    (905) 830-4444, Ext.1552 / email: cathy.downard-parmer@york.ca
 
For more information on the Region’s tourism initiatives, please visit www.yorktourism.com 
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contacts: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications Specialist, York Region
                                             Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 1238, (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675
                                             Cell:  905 251-6413  Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca

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