Adventure/Attraction Focus Group Update
Prince Edward Island Strategic Plan – Vision 2021
May 31, 2016
Present: Mark McLane, Anne Arsenault, Matthew Jelley, Mike Roberts, Ryan Garrett, Bill Kendrick, David MacNulty, Stan Cook
- concern was expressed about the timing of the focus groups taking place at the start of the season when operators are busiest
- why are we only now discussing this when the previous strategic plan expired 2 years ago
- discussion around which tourism organizations provide the most support to the industry. TIAPEI, ACOA, Tourism Charlottetown, RTA’s
- Golf PEI identified as providing direct benefits to members beyond marketing. Eg: tee time booking engine. Members don’t see advocacy as a benefit to membership….they want direct benefits for the membership fee they pay
- local DMO’s/RTA’s seen by some as having great benefit to the industry. Others felt value of RTA’s for the money invested is questionable. Acknowledged that RTA’s do a lot of work not always understood by operators. The more engaged operators are with the RTA’s the more they will get out of it
- concern expressed about what appears to some to be a lack of interest in pursuing and enhancing the Family market. For several years the Family market was ignored because government felt it was a declining market. Statistics indicate the market is strong and growing and not just the multi-generational family market. Millennials are having children at an increasing rate.
- some expressed concern there is too much focus on golf since the government still owns golf courses. Others felt golf is still an important market.
- some felt it is attractions, experiences and golf that drive visitor numbers….not accommodations. Visitors don’t come here because there are comfortable beds. They come for the things to do/see.
- it is felt Tourism PEI needs to identify the winners in the industry….the product being invested in by industry that attract visitors and support them in moving forward both financially and through marketing initiatives
- some felt Tourism PEI product development seems to be focused on festivals & events. The Food Island initiative puts too much emphasis on Fall Flavours with questionable results in terms of driving visitation from off-Island. It was suggested there is no research indicating people choose a destination with food as a motivator. Others felt Fall Flavours is a major success attracting strong visitation in the shoulder season.
- many felt there is no product development vision from Tourism PEI and that here is an unwillingness on the part of government to partner financially or with marketing with private operators. Product development is best done by industry in association with a vision developed by industry with support from government. “There’s been no product development initiative to sink your teeth into.”
- feeling there’s nothing new in terms of product on the Island. If people have been here before what’s the incentive to return
- co-op advertising opportunities have been reduced as the tourism marketing budget has been reduced; there was a previous co-op funding opportunity for the production of videos. It was well received and would be beneficial again.
- mixed reaction to print Visitor’s Guide. Some believe it is still valuable as it provides visitors with “the Island in one book.” Others feel it is no longer relevant as more people are getting their information through the internet. Small operators find it too expensive to advertise.
- with all the funds spent during 2014, there has been no lasting product legacy. Nothing was developed that has sustained. It was all focused on one time events. There was a bump in visitation due to significant marketing spending but nothing created to sustain those visitation numbers
- growth in conventions is seen as having a negative impact on other sectors. Tying up accommodations making it difficult for people not attending conventions to find a place to stay. Same impact occurring with Cavendish Beach Music Festival….big boost during the festival but keeping others away from Cavendish. It ties up accommodations, crowds out the family market,. On the positive side, a legacy fund has been established by the event organizers
- need to set realistic objectives with measurable steps that have been costed.