The pace of change we have experienced in our daily lives over the past two weeks and the impact those changes will have on our future is staggering. Our hearts especially go out to those who have been directly affected by COVID-19 and all of the amazing front line health care professionals who are risking their lives on a daily basis to care for those in need.
This crisis is unprecedented. The playbook is being written and revised in real-time against an elusive moving target. Our desire for predictability to chart a path forward is challenged as the time frame for our new reality seems to extend on a daily basis. The hardship facing so many cannot be underestimated and our tourism sector, along with the communities in our region who rely on the visitor economy, are going to face extremely difficult times ahead.
However, in these uncertain times, we can take great comfort in the certainty that together, we will rise to the occasion. All levels of government are taking swift and unified action to mitigate the impact of this crisis and technology is facilitating essential social connections allowing families, friends and co-workers to share experiences of both fear and hope. By now, everyone has a story of someone they know who has used creativity and compassion to help others in need in their community.
Collaboration has always been the ethos of our organization and we are humbled by the level of engagement from our six County partners who have made themselves available to contribute their insights and ideas. As one of the largest regions in the province, their connections to operators at the local level are important linkages to the realities on the ground.
Our immediate concern going forward is two-fold:
1. To ensure our tourism community is linked in with the resources and information that will support their ability to make informed immediate, mid- and long-term planning decisions.
- We update the industry page of our website on a regular basis to capture all of the latest local, provincial, and federal support measures available to businesses.
- We send out a weekly round up of news and resources through email.
- We post time sensitive updates on our Twitter account @ohtoinsider
- Our team is available to field questions and direct inquires to appropriate resources.
2. To work with our tourism community to shift storytelling with our audiences towards more useful and sensitive content during this time of crisis. We are a region that can provide messages of hope and anticipation for welcoming them back when the time comes.
Our audiences are hungry for good news and inspiring content. We will be developing opportunities for our operators to engage with them as well as exploring innovative and respectful ways to generate sales. Stay connected to our communication channels to learn more!
We are honoured to be working with our incredible tourism community to get through these difficult times together. The sheer grit and determination that underpins the character of our communities will no doubt position us well to overcome this incredible public health and financial crisis, and we can look forward to welcoming guests back to our unforgettable region in the future.
Stay healthy, stay determined and stay connected.
Yours in tourism,
Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization