Blyth 'booming' says Huron County, RTO 4 - Dec. 22, 2016
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Huron County Council has authorized a memorandum of understanding with Regional Touriism Organization 4 (RTO 4) to work together on the county’s tourism and marketing strategy, focusing on three key projects, including one in Blyth.
At Huron County Council’s Dec. 14 committee of the whole meeting, Economic Development Manager Natasha Fritzley presented council with a report which suggested a number of changes in its tourism practices and some priorities moving forward.
The proposed memorandum of understanding suggested a co-funding relationship between the county and RTO 4 that would result in a “Tourism Destination” initiative.
The report also states that the county will continue to develop further departmental tourism initiatives and partnerships with other organizations throughout 2017.
The document lists a number of demand-generating themes within the region that will attract provincial attention, including theatres, heritage towns, outdoor activities, motor sports and culinary tourism.
“Currently, RTO 4 is focusing its attention on three projects within Huron County: Blyth and the Blyth Festival, Bayfield and the Goderich-to-Guelph (G2G) Rail Trail,” states the memorandum of understanding. “It is through these projects that RTO 4 and Huron County believe there is potential for greater project advancement, alignment, shared intelligence and co-operation.”
Fritzley told council that Blyth is really “booming” right now and that it’s an appropriate place to leverage tourism dollars with RTO 4.
“Blyth is an emerging destination,” the document states. “While the Blyth Festival has played, and continues to play, an important role in drawing attention and visitors to the region, the expansion/redevelopment of the Festival facilities, the initiation of the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity and the development of the Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company destination brewery are together game-changers within the Huron County landscape and offer an immense opportunity to align, leverage and grow tourism opportunities there.”
In the funding breakdown, $100,000 will be spent on various projects in Bayfield, including signage and destination development, while $20,000 is planned to be spent in Blyth.
Blyth initiatives include the creation, development and briefing of the Blyth destination network, the launch of facilitated meetings to qualify, define and reach consensus on Blyth’s DNA and the inception of a Blyth destination strategy, as well as any other work the partners may deem necessary in the advancement of these projects.
Council approved Fritzley’s recommendation and authorized Warden Jim Ginn and Chief Administrative Officer Brenda Orchard to execute the memorandum of understanding with RTO 4.