2018 Central Counties Tourism Symposium a ‘Gathering for Growth’

March 16, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

Central Counties Tourism Symposiums began five years ago as a way to bring businesses and communities together to look at ways to increase visitors from outside of the region. The Executive Director, Chuck Thibeault says, “When businesses start to work together, instead of in competition with each other, all businesses benefit because collectively they can attract people from farther away.”

The 2018 Central Counties Tourism Symposium will be held on Monday, March 19th, at the beautiful Hockley Valley Resort in Mono Township. The organization promises “an inspiring and engaging line-up of symposium speakers and key business building topics.”

The keynote speaker this year, Cillian Murphy “is internationally recognized for his work at developing Sustainable Tourism in communities and regions across the world,” says Mr. Thibeault. “Sustainable Tourism is an inclusive development process that ensures every decision has three benefits to a community or region: an economic benefit, a social (resident) benefit and an environmental benefit.”

Provincially funded, Central Counties Tourism is a not-for-profit organization with a mandate to develop, support and promote tourism in Headwaters as well as in the regions of York and Durham.  Mr. Thibeault calls Headwaters’ geographic proximity to the biggest population in Canada “both a blessing and a curse” when it comes to tourism. He says, “A blessing because there is an abundance of people right next door that love the things our stakeholders offer and a curse because we are so close, our region is not top of mind when planning things to see and do as part of their leisure activities.”

In the past five years, Mr. Thibeault believes stakeholder engagement with Central Counties has increased, due in large part to the tourism symposiums.  “Several of our municipalities have developed Community Tourism Plans that bring tourism to the forefront of their economic development efforts,” he says.  “There is a better understanding of how destination development can help drive incremental sales to their businesses; helping them stay open, hire more staff and make a positive contribution to the community.”

Visitor data collection for future decision making is a second focus at this year’s symposium. “Knowing who is currently walking through your doors, where they are from, how they consume media and where more people like them live, allows businesses to maximize their limited resources to find and engage the type of people that like to do what they offer,” says Chuck Thibeault. “Central Counties provides tools to make data collection easy,” he says, and, more importantly, “can analyze the data for the stakeholder to provide them with timely, usable information to make decisions.”

Cost for the symposium, which runs from 9 am – 3 pm on Monday, March 19th, is $25 for a full day of speakers, breakfast, lunch, breaks, take-aways and prizes. The meeting will take place in the Montclair Room of the Hockley Valley Resort at 793522 3rd Line EHS in Mono Township. According to the Executive Director, “The symposiums are a time for businesses and municipalities to network and start thinking about how they can work together to meet their goals and objectives.” To reserve visit:


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