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Friday, June 22, 2018

Tourism Survey in Bruce County

Bruce County | by Claire McCormack  

Officials are looking to gauge the significance of the tourism sector in the economy.

Bruce County's Economic Development team is conducting a survey this summer to learn more about tourism in the area.

Economic Development Officer Nicole Egan says the idea is to gauge the significance of the tourism sector to Bruce County's economy.

Egan says they'll be looking at numbers and dollars for things like visitors to the national parks, riders on the Chi-Cheemaun, and for localized numbers from businesses (accommodation, tour operators, food retailers, restaurateurs and  recreation businesses).

The County also has a "summer patrol" that will survey people on the street and at events.

Egan says Bruce County hasn't done something like this before and she doesn't know of any nearby counties who have done something similar, "There's nothing that aggregates all the data at the moment," says Egan who notes partner organizations and different owner/operators collect data, but she wants to create a coordinated effort to support business development.

The County's plan is to create a framework for the survey so it can be done every year.

This year, there is funding form the Province's Rural Economic Development Grant for the project which involves consultants IPSOS and PRISM for one time only.   

In future years, Egan says the plan is to conduct the survey without a big budget by using existing county people and resources.

The surveys will be conducted from June 18th to July 6th and Egan says they'll take less than ten minutes. It will be conducted by phone, in person and online. They're looking for responses from about 90 per cent of the sector.

Once the responses are in, an industry report will be put together which will also create a base line to look at next year to see if numbers change.

"It allows us to share it with each of our municipalities and it gives them some better decision making data," says Egan.

Egan uses the claim that the peninsula is at capacity each year as an example, "When we have that hard data to back that up, we're in a better position to say 'Okay, we know there's this amount of money coming into the peninsula based on accommodation alone, we should look at X,Y and Z in terms of planning because we have a bottom line to back that up."

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