If It’s Summertime, Welcome To South Eastern Ontario

New research that South Eastern Ontario’s travel offerings will be in high demand this summer, with two in five Ontario and Quebec travellers indicating interest in visiting the region this summer.

The Regional Tourism Organization of South Eastern Ontario (RTO 9) recently invested in comprehensive consumer brand perception and travel intention research conducted by Twenty31 Consulting in order to give tourism businesses and destination marketing organizations insight into who will be travelling, what experiences visitors will be seeking and what marketing channels they will use to help plan their trips.

And the good news is that interest in regional destinations is forecast to be a main driver of vacation travel this summer as South Eastern Ontario prepares to open for tourism and welcome visitors.

RTO 9’s executive director, Bonnie Ruddock said that: “We anticipate that once restrictions are lifted, tourism will resume quickly to our region.”

Ruddock continued: “There is pent-up demand to visit friends and family and to get out of our own houses and neighbourhoods. We are encouraging visitors to seek out new and unique experiences in South Eastern Ontario beyond what they’ve done before — and to consider staying an extra night or two. A longer stay in our region will have a meaningful impact on recovery for our tourism operators.”

Twenty31’s research revealed that South Eastern Ontario will attract frequent travellers and younger couples this year, with frequent travellers in Ontario, millennials and those under 45 most likely to visit the region.

As well, the couples market is most promising as nearly half of those considering the destination say they will travel with a spouse or partner. Additionally, solo travellers scored surprisingly high at 15%, pointing to the desire to seek escape from routine, and focus on wellness and relaxation.

Said Ruddock: “We are encouraging visitors to plan multiple trips to our region this year and next — we have so much to offer, and every season brings its own unique experiences to enjoy.”

And she added: “We know that many travellers will be booking multiple getaways and our operators can fulfill many types of trips: family, wellness and health, culture and history.”

Not surprisingly, the survey also indicated that interest in the most active experiences is strongly linked with age – over half of millennial respondents say they are interested in cycling (55%) and adrenaline activities (56%); while Gen Xers are most interested in art, architecture and wildlife viewing.

The research indicates that the food and drink scene in South Eastern Ontario has the broadest appeal to consumers with wineries, craft breweries, restaurants, bakeries, local producers and farmers markets topping the list. Nearly half of the respondents said they were very interested in food and drink, followed by history and wildlife.

Ruddock observed: “The culinary experiences in South Eastern Ontario continue to grow and evolve. Whether it’s a farmer’s market, craft brewery or a sophisticated dining experience under the stars, we are building our own unique food and drink story.”

Go to www.southeasternontario.ca for more.