According to a Destination Niagara Image Survey conducted in 2008 there is a lack of knowledge of or appreciation for Niagara beyond the Falls and visitors to our area perceive that the Niagara region is weak for interesting towns, recreation, agritourism and the food and wine experience.
The study also identifies a peculiar “before and after” effect in that once people visit and are exposed to Niagara their perception of our area is much higher than those who have never visited.
The dilemma once again seems to be that while we know we’ve got it no one else seems to know about it. I am reminded of an old Spanish proverb “It’s not enough to lay an egg. You have to crow about it.”
The Destination Niagara report goes further to say that it works better when we all crow together. The study concludes that the opportunity for building longer stays in Niagara is by “coalescing fragmented efforts, focusing image and getting travelers to become aware of all the other experiences/activities that comprise Niagara Canada.”
One of the first critical steps to achieving this goal was the recent formation of a unified Regional Tourism Organization to manage tourism in Niagara. The objective of this new tourism partnership is to ensure that all of Niagara’s visitor attractions including those offered here in our Town of Pelham are featured in the Niagara storybook.
Our part of the story should include our cultural heritage such as the Fonthill Bandshell Summer concert series, Pelham Art Show and local arts/artisan tours; our boutique shopping destinations; our agritourism sector including the Pelham Farmer’s Market and all our many specialty retail food and farm destinations; cycling and car tour maps featuring Effingham and other local scenic attractions; golf and sports visitor packages and eco/geographic explorations of the Fonthill Kame, St.John’s Conservation area and Short Hills Provincial Park.
Town promotion programs have a tremendous impact on local development. In addition to the obvious economic benefits of supporting the growth of and attracting new businesses and jobs to our community there are other less tangible—but equally important—payoffs.
A well planned community marketing strategy improves the quality of life as residents and visitors alike are able to take better advantage of local services and attractions. It also promotes community pride, which grows as more and more people work together to develop a thriving Niagara economy.