Under the direction of Dean Hustwick, Director of Recreation and Culture, Cobourg is adopting a new strategy to attract Tourists to Cobourg. Instead of simply listing attractions, a new “guide” will focus on “experiences”. Other initiatives include a new tourism web site to expand on this and the hiring of summer students as “experience ambassadors” to encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more. Work on this project was done by Bryan Mercer, a contract employee who has many years of experience marketing Tourism, most recently in Kingston. Bryan presented the result of his work to Council on Monday and handed out copies of the new guide to Councillors and the media. The new guide looks very different to previous guides, has no third party advertising and emphasizes experiences as distinct from places to visit – see below for more detail.
Highlights of the 2018 Tourism Plan and the 2018 Guide
- The current Cobourg Tourism web site will be replaced by www.experiencecobourg.ca This should be online mid-April and that’s when the new “guides” will be released. It currently says (in effect) “Coming Soon”.
- The Guide’s main purpose is to lead people to the web site.
- Longer stays will be promoted
- Summer students will be hired as “Experience Ambassadors” who will tell visitors “there’s no way you can see Cobourg in a day”. They will also survey visitors.
- The guide features Armistice18
- The guide will celebrate our Heritage and celebrate celebrities – e.g. Marie Dressler
- Cobourg Brands will be created – the guide features special cocktails, local craft brewers
- The guide will have a wider distribution – Ottawa and ONRoute Centres will be included
- Packages and Partnerships will be set up – e.g. with St. Anne’s and Arthurs Pub
- There will be advertising in other publications
- There will be a billboard campaign in Kingston and Belleville (they don’t have anything like our beach)
- A Sponsorship program will be started e.g. with Cameco, Best Western, MacDonalds.
- A “Tourism Working group” will be created
- A big “What If” – What if Cobourg built a big sign that simply says COBOURG – cost is around $70k – but it would be a big tourist attraction. See example below right from Kingston.
The new “Experience Cobourg” Guide talks about:
- History, historical buildings, our planned celebration of Armistice18 (music, Art, Speakers, Film, Exhibits, Theatre), the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre
- Downtown stores
- The wide range of accommodation available and the idea that you can stay here but visit St Anne’s Spa and make Day Trips to Ganaraska Tree Top trekking, Rice Lake & Haute Goat in Port Hope
- The Beach and Waterfront Festival
- The many Festivals – Harvest Festival, Ribfest, Sandcastle Festival and Downtown Sidewalk sale, Winter Festivities, Waterfront Festival and Canada Day, Highland Games, Busker and Art Festival, Christmas Magic.
- The food and craft beers available, the neat coffee shops, some “Cobourg Cocktails”
- The extensive arts available from the AGN, the Firehall Theatre, the Concert Hall, the Marie Dressler House and Museum
- A map is included that shows the location of all the featured Retail outlets, Venues etc
The new plan, guide and web site are a major effort towards increasing tourism in Cobourg. Hopefully this will be an economic boost to Cobourg.
Update – 23 May 2018