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By Kelly Jessup
promo graphic for new website with screen shots of website on mobile devices

Peterborough, ON – Tourism Week in Canada, led by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), is an annual invitation to come together to champion and promote Canada’s destinations, tourism businesses, and employees from May 29th to June 4th.

Tourism was the industry first hit, the hardest hit, and will be the last to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic; it remains vital to Peterborough & the Kawarthas – not only for its ability to generate economic activity but for its undeniable contribution to the region’s quality of life.

Before COVID-19, tourism in Peterborough & the Kawarthas was responsible for 1 in 10 local jobs and more than $365 million in annual visitor spending. The pandemic decimated the industry across Canada, with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, and forecasting doesn’t see the industry recovering until the end of 2025. After more than two devastating years for tourism, it’s time to rebuild the industry and recover – That’s why this year’s theme is Travel Now: For Work, Life, and Play!

“We were optimistic for a great start to the core tourism season. The recent May 21st storm is yet another setback after two challenging years. Local businesses continue to show resiliency, and our community continues to support local businesses – both important factors for successful recovery. However, we must be prepared to fight for our region’s competitive position as people start to travel again, not just this summer, but as travellers plan for fall and winter travel experiences.” said Joe Rees, Director of Tourism for Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED).

PKED is steadfast in its commitment to supporting this vital local sector and its economic, social, and cultural importance. Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism, a division of PKED, has undertaken several activities in 2020 to support recovery by 2025:

  • Launched – a new economic development website to better position the region for growth and investment attraction, including the tourism sector.
  • Launched a newly redesigned to address recent changes in consumer sentiment and travel trends.
  • Launched the SPARK program, which aims to support innovative local tourism ideas with mentorships and grants emphasizing spring, fall, and winter seasons and culinary experiences to better support year-round economic impact and sustainable tourism attraction.
  • Hired a full complement of travel counsellors for the summer season and re-launching the mobile visitor services program, which will take place on weekends at the Peterborough Lift Lock all summer.
  • Launching a new “Tourism in Motion” program, which will see travel counsellors throughout the City and County connecting with locals, visitors, and businesses where they are to provide on-the-spot visitor services.
  • An enhanced suite of virtual visitor services, including live online chat, email, and phone information requests.
  • Ongoing promotion of the O’de Piitaanemaan Pledge to encourage responsible travel in the region to counteract over-tourism issues and instill a sense of kindness and respect for people and places as the region works towards recovery.