Gananoque signs deal for tourism program

·2 min read

Gananoque council has signed the Rural Economic Development (RES) funding agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for up to $45,000 in funding for the 1000 Islands Wanderer – a Unique Approach to Attraction Program.

The town's contribution of $25,000 will be drawn from the economic development reserve.

Council then passed a bylaw to authorize the mayor and clerk to sign the agreement with the Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands (TLTI) for $20,000 in contribution funding.

The town of Gananoque submitted a funding application to OMAFRA's Rural Economic Development Fund in partnership with the township to develop and implement the 1000 Islands Wanderer program.

The town received notice from OMAFRA on Feb. 14, 2022, that the application was approved for funding up to a maximum of $45,000.

The OMAFRA funding is a cost share agreement paying 50 per cent of eligible costs. The breakdown on the funding contributions is: Town of Gananoque $25,000, T.L.T.I. $20,000 for a total of $45,000. OMAFRA will match the $45,000 making the total project budget $90,000.

Together the project partners – 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce, KEYS and the Business Support Network – will develop a multi-faceted marketing program to increase tourism in the region as well as offer support to the businesses located in the two municipalities.

This will include video, audio and print content, blogging, vlogging, creating and posting social content, pictures, and marketing designed to help create business awareness to locals and visitors alike. The marketing will also expand into investment attraction, using and expanding upon the two municipalities' joint economic development projects: "Make a life, Make a Living."

The project team will be comprised of people from the respective economic development staff of each municipality. The project will be led by Gananoque, with collaboration with the Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands, managed with regular meetings.

The team will focus on experiences that make the region unique and authentic, and that amplify people's outdoor experiences and quality of life.

The team will take advantage of popular social platforms, draw on past marketing successes and develop a marketing package that has a common look and feel to attract visitors.

Staff is planning to go to an RFP to hire a content creator to document, for one year, all that the region has to offer.

This is a project that has not been done in this area before, notes a report to town council.

The project will focus on social media marketing, which will be designed to elevate the exposure of the area to attract tourism as well as business retention and expansion.

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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