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TMAC Conference Puts Region on the Map

By Kelly Jessup

[PETERBOROUGH, ON] In June of 2015, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism (PKT) hosted 211 writers, photographers, filmmakers, bloggers social media mavens, and highly respected representatives of the travel industry for the Travel Media Association of Canada’s (TMAC) annual Conference & AGM in Peterborough, which had an economic impact of $575,000. While the economic impact far surpasses the investment required to host, it’s the value of the media coverage earned that has the region’s destination marketing organization so pleased – since June the region has received 46 external media coverages valued at $588,000 and growing.

The pursuit of earned media has been a growing focus of PKT for a number of years, complimenting the ongoing marketing efforts focussed on driving increased visitation and spending in the region. Over the past few years, the region has had a number of notable media opportunities such as Breakfast Television, PGA TOUR Canada’s Wildfire Invitational, Hockey Day in Canada, Rogers Hometown Hockey and most recently, hosting TMAC. “From a destination marketing perspective, winning the opportunity to host TMAC is like winning the lottery. Not only is the economic spin-off of the conference well worth the investment, but it’s the value of having the opportunity to showcase your destination to travel journalists hungry for fresh story ideas to pitch to media outlets that makes this such a big win.” said Fiona Dawson, Director of Tourism for Peterborough Economic Development.

“We currently have 54 qualified media leads as a result of hosting the conference, a high number compared to the 10-15 we average in a typical year. While there is significant media value in one time events, long-term success in media relations is all about building positive relationships with media. Instead of needing to continually knock on doors to pitch story ideas, we’re answering calls from media outlets on a frequent basis now.” She added.

Of the 211 delegates that visited the region, 96 of them were media; representing the highest media turn-out that the association has seen in recent years. “With our close proximity to Toronto and Ottawa, we were an easy choice for media travelling from all over Canada. We’re not a destination that has been highly saturated by media coverage in comparison to some of the larger destinations that have hosted in the past. Peterborough & the Kawarthas offered media plenty of opportunities to discover new things and to leave with new story ideas. We’re seeing the results of all of our hard work paying off, and are forecasting continued growth in the quality, volume and reach of our media efforts moving into 2016. ” she added.

To date, media coverage of the region as a result of hosting TMAC spans from large 2-3 page features in Canadian Cycling Magazine, West Jet Magazine and the Travel Section of the Toronto Star (including a feature on the new Star Touch App) to medium-sized articles in papers and magazines across Canada, as well as dozens of digital stories ranging from Buzzfeed Canada to personal travel blogs and websites.

The subject matter of the articles varies greatly, and is a result of the thorough conference agenda that PKT planned covering a wide array of tourism offerings in the City and County of Peterborough which included 8 multi-day pre-conference tour experiences, 16 local day tour experiences, 16 local dine-around restaurants and 6 post-conference tour experiences.

Since hosting the conference, PKT has also been working with a variety of tourism partners on product development using some of the conference tour experiences as the groundwork and expects to have several new visitor experiences ready to market before the end of 2016. In all, PKT worked with more than 200 community partners and tourism businesses as well as 11 regional and provincial partners to pull the conference off.

“We share this success with our partners and are grateful for the support of the City of Peterborough, County of Peterborough, Regional Tourism Organization 8 (Kawarthas Northumberland), the Peterborough Destination Association, the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Rural Economic Development program, Kawartha Entertainment Group Inc., Parks Canada and Ontario Parks, as well as the 200 community partners and tourism businesses that assisted us in pulling this off.” said Dawson.

To view media coverage of Peterborough & the Kawarthas visit

There were 1.3 million twitter impressions for the conference hashtag. To see what conference delegates had to say about Peterborough & the Kawarthas search #TMACPtbo.