In March of this year, tourism contract employee Bryan Mercer presented a plan to increase tourism in Cobourg and presented a new printed guide that focused on experiences. In June, he launched a new web site – experiencecobourg.ca (link below) and summer students were hired as “Experience Ambassadors” – one of their jobs was to conduct surveys by asking visitors some leading questions. Other methods of collecting data were also employed and now the results have been tabulated and we have some good data on visitors and tourists. Bryan presented this data to Cobourg Council at their meeting on October 1st and the results show that although the beach is Cobourg’s prime attraction, visitors do spend money and do come to local restaurants.
As well as the 506 interactive surveys collected between June 1 and Labour Day, downtown pedestrian counters and cell-phone trackers were also used. Some information was also inferred from web site data (see full report).
Data from Interactive Surveys
- 18-34: 345; 35-49: 272; Under 18: 310 (primarily kids with adults); 50+: 272 visitors.
- 86.4% arrived in personal vehicle, 7.7% by boat, 2.4% by train.
- 64.5% of visitors stayed the day
- 13.3% one night
- 19.4% for multiple nights
- 48.7% participated in a cultural activity (event, museum, tour, etc)
- 49% shopped
13.6% spent between $1-$60, 13.6% spent between $61-$100 and 12.2% spent $101+ (excludes amounts spent on accommodation)
- 59.7% ate locally (Notable mentions: Beach Canteen, Buttermilk, Marca, Sakura Sushi, Rustic Bean, Millstone, Arthur’s Pub, Corfu, Oasis, Swiss Chalet and other branded fast food outlets)
- Preferred food at the beach canteen: 71% French fries, 51% hamburgers, 48% sammies/wraps, 45% poutine, 37% hotdogs, 24% ice cream.
- 8.6% healthy choices 5.7% salads.
- 98.1% would recommend visiting Cobourg.
Why they visited:
- 50.7% beach
- 28.2% events
- 26.8% friends/family
- 26.2% unplanned visits! (marketing, signage, web, recommendation, gas stop, etc.)
Download the full report below for more – including comments made by visitors.
Four Visitor Recognition Units (VRUs) were used to measure the number of visitors (assuming they had a cellphone), where they went and if they visited the same location more than once. The VRUs were located at the canteen, at the bottom of Division Street (Marina/campground), Downtown (corner of Division and King) and at Victoria Hall.
Key VRU results
- Busiest day was the Sandcastle weekend, especially Saturday with a count of 10,771. A close second was the Sunday of the Waterfront festival weekend (July 1).
- For August 3 to 6, the Beach had 52% of Traffic
- Busiest hour is 2-3 pm on Fri/Sat/Sun
Two locations were used – King & George and King & Division.
The King & George location had a lot more traffic – apparently because the counter at Division was often bypassed by typical traffic.
They measured how many pedestrians passed from May 1 to September 5
- Monthly average: 352,220
- Busiest day of the week: Friday
- Busiest days of the period analysed:
1. Saturday 30 June 2018 (15,792)
2. Monday 02 July 2018 (15,314)
3. Sunday 01 July 2018 (15,170)
Although Bryan did not spell out a summary, some things stand out:
- Interactive surveys – that is, asking people questions works best to collect data.
- Tourists do come downtown and do spend money although it’s not clear what percentage of the total at the beach go anywhere else.
- The Sandcastle weekend and the Waterfront Festival significantly boost visitors.
- Collecting data, even if limited, does help understand the impact of events on Tourism traffic.
- People who visit say that they like Cobourg – some come back to live here but there’s no data on that.
- Tourism Metrics Report – 2018
- Boost to Cobourg Tourism Planned – 22 March 2018 – includes 2018 printed guide
- Tourism Marketing launched for 2018 – 15 June 2018 – launch of new Tourism web site
- Experience Cobourg – Cobourg’s Tourism web site.