Tourism stats on the rise, TWEPI officials tell county council

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Tourism statistics are on the rise in Windsor-Essex County, according to representatives from Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI).

TWEPI CEO Gordon Orr, vice president of tourism programs and development Lynnette Bain and director of marketing and special events Kris Racine appeared before Essex County council last Wednesday night. They pointed out the area won the Ontario Culinary Tourism Experience award last year, as well as the Motorcities National Heritage Area’s Award of Excellence in Tourism. TWEPI was a finalist for the Ontario Culinary Tourism Leadership Award.

Launched in 2016 was the Barrels, Bottles and Brews Trail, the waterfront trail on Pelee Island and a regional tourism committee.

Orr pointed out TWEPI has modified its logo to be similar to the Canada 150 logo, launched a new website (www.we150.ca) to promote local Canada 150 events and the hashtag #WE150. He added their “Plenty of Reasons” campaign continues to promote the region’s attractions.

Lynnette Bain, Gordon Orr and Kris Racine from TWEPI addressed Essex County Council at the May 17 meeting.

Lynnette Bain, Gordon Orr and Kris Racine from TWEPI addressed Essex County Council at the May 17 meeting.

Bain noted they received a $30,000 grant from the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership as well. They are increasing their marketing presence and that includes social media in both Canada and the United States. She said they are doing a digital targeting campaign to attract more visitors. She also cited WDIV-TV in Detroit as being one of the many partners they have in the United States to attract visitors.

Bain said after news stories aired on WDIV about winery and cycling tours, TWEPI immediately got calls stating there was a jump in business.

“Channel 4 has been very good to us,” she said.

The 2017-18 marketing plan focuses on pillars such as arts and culture, outdoor adventure, food and drink and entertainment. Growth from 2015 to 2016 included a 4.85 per cent jump in hotel occupancy in Windsor-Essex, an $8.56 jump in the average daily room rate and a 3.97 per cent increase in American residents entering Canada.

There has also been a 32.9 per cent jump in “unique visitors” to TWEPI’s website – www.visitwindsoressex.com – from 2016 to 2017 with social media statistics climbing as well.

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara thanked TWEPI for its help during last year’s AMO Conference, noting the area’s “best kept secrets” are coming out in the open.

“More people are taking advantage of them,” said McNamara, adding the area’s volunteer base is strong as well.

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