Tourism Manager & Economic Development Coordinator
519-376-3365 Ext 6110
Mary Jane Hills
519-376-3365 Ext 6108
519-376-3365 Ext 6102
519-376-3365 Ext 6106
WHO WE ARE:
Grey County Tourism
Grey County Tourism is a department of The Corporation of the County of Grey, under the direction of the CAO. A Tourism Advisory Committee provides strategic guidance and is comprised of five tourism stakeholders from across Grey County, as well as the Warden and a County Councillor. Tourism priorities, projects and budgets are approved by the Planning & Community Development Committee, and ultimately County Council. Following are Grey County Tourism’s existing Vision, Mission and Values, which are open to review and updating through the Destination Development Action Plan process.
Welcoming destinations and great experiences make Grey County the natural place to visit and live.
The Grey County Tourism Committee will encourage tourism development and marketing across Grey County to contribute to economic prosperity and a higher quality of life in our communities. We will undertake this by:
- Actively engaging with industry stakeholders to develop new tourism experiences, provide excellent customer service, and market Grey County to our chosen visitor markets.
- Strategic partnering with the Grey Bruce Owen Sound Regional Tourism Marketing Partners to develop and promote regional experiences.
- Undertaking measurement and research of our results in our visitor markets and their economic impact upon Grey County.
Grey County Tourism values its heritage, natural beauty, clean, healthy environment and rural lifestyle. We value the freedom of the individual and the security of the 'hometown' community. Grey County Tourism is committed to sustainable, affordable growth through progressive and well managed planning for the future to enhance tourism initiatives.
Regional / Historical / Context
Grey County has a vibrant tourism industry, hosting 1.779million visitors in 2008 and bringing in over $331 million in direct expenditures, supporting 2400 full time jobs and contributing $9.9 million in municipal taxes Key Performance Indicators. Most of our visitors are Ontarians from the Greater Toronto Area and adjacent parts of southwestern Ontario. Visitors from the U.S.A. and other Countries make up a very low component of our visitors, but are a high yield market and are important consumers of overnight commercial accommodation.
The complexities of the tourism industry demand a consultative and cooperative approach to be successful. Over the past decade, there has been a shift in the organization and delivery of tourism marketing and product development in Grey County and region, along with significant investment in Ontario’s largest four-season resort at Blue Mountain. In 2000, the Grey Bruce Tourist Association formerly ceased operations and joined the newly formed Southern Ontario Tourism Organization (SOTO.) At the same time, Grey County Tourism established a full time tourism department, with a staff of two, following several years of part-time tourism staffing. A study looking at the changing organizational structure in the region was also underway, and ultimately the “Joining Forces” study recommended a regional cooperative with support from Grey & Bruce Counties and the City of Owen Sound. The Regional Tourism Marketing Partners (RTMP) of Grey and Bruce Counties was the result, and has been an effective product development and marketing collaborative since its inception.
In 2005, RTMP hosted Roger Brooks of Destination Development for a two day analysis of our regional tourism offering, a one day workshop with stakeholders, and a presentation at our annual fall tourism conference. The outcome was a renewed emphasis on product development and a wider definition of destination management beyond just a marketing focus. In 2005, SOTO ceased operations. The province’s first premier ranked study was undertaken in the south Georgian Bay region, including north Grey County and published in late 2000, coincident with Intrawest’s purchase of 50% of Blue Mountain Resort and announcement of major expansion at the Village at Blue to create a four season resort retail and residential development.
The recent emergence of the Georgian Bay Coastal Route, and the significant tourism development in the Collingwood to Wasaga Beach areas have led to new partnerships to the east in Simcoe County and right around Georgian Bay, complementing Grey County’s longstanding relationship with Bruce County. Most recently, the province undertook a Competitiveness Study, and in early 2009 released “Discovering Ontario – A Report on the Future of Tourism” authored by MPP Greg Sorbara. Two of the report’s recommendations have been taken up by the Ministry of Tourism, the creation of Tourism Regions and the implementation of a Destination Marketing & Management Organization (DMMO) for each region. Grey County is part of RT07, which includes Grey, Bruce & Simcoe Counties. More information is available on Region 7 on their Industry Site.