More tourism businesses in Huron joining industry association
Huron Tourism Association (HTA) membership increases in 2012 as businesses show their commitment to industry growth and rebuilding after challenges of recent years
Membership in the Huron Tourism Association (HTA) has increased in 2012 over numbers from the previous year, according to the industry organization. The association now has 176 members and membership continues to grow with membership near an all-time high and a membership drive planned for later in the year, according to HTA.
“The Board of Directors thanks Huron Countyís tourism enterprises for their support,” said Tim Cumming, HTA President. “These entrepreneurs are demonstrating their commitment to the growth of tourism, and the tourism industry is a pillar of our rural economy along with agriculture, manufacturing, and heritage and culture.” The president of the volunteer board of directors said the growth of tourism association membership this year is amazing considering the recent challenges the industry has faced. Those challenges have included the 2011 tornado that hit the Goderich and Benmiller area, a Canadian dollar at or near par with the U.S. dollar, post-2001 decline in tourism from the United States, higher gas prices, and the lingering effects of the financial crisis of 2008-2009.
The challenges that face tourism businesses are real, Cumming said, but he said there are also many positive trends in the Huron County tourism industry. Attendance at special events and attractions is rising, according to the countyís new Annual Tourism Report. Also, Huron County is an active partner in Ontarioís Regional Tourism Organization 4 which encompasses Huron County, Perth County, Waterloo Region, and Wellington County. The HTA representative said the tourism region is investing significantly in bringing tourists to the area through new websites and advertising, and advanced systems for tourists to book great getaway packages. This is new investment in the tourism industry that has not existed before, he said, and this creates new opportunities.
Huron Tourism Association is also working in close partnership with tourism and business organizations and municipalities in the county, and adjacent to the county, to promote the attractions and experiences throughout the county. As an example, the association applauds the recent work of the municipality and business organizations in and around The Municipality of South Huron for their initiative to promote the southern gateway to Ontarioís West Coast through a promising pilot project that could be employed in other gateways into the county.
HTA, which has a volunteer board of directors of tourism representatives from throughout the county, continues to work in partnership with the County of Huron to attract tourists. One of the partnership projects between the county and industry tourism association is the popular annual Huron County Vacation Guide. The guide is such a hit, in fact, that despite having just printed 35,000 copies of the guide, the county is down to its last few thousand copies and calls are pouring in for the last copies that are left. The industry tourism association also works with the county on other active marketing including print media and advertising, broadcast and social media, conventions, websites, the Tourism Event and Brochure Swap (held in different parts of the county each year), special events, culinary tourism promotion, and many other strategic tools.
“Weíre only able to use all these marketing tools because we have association members who are committed to their industry,” Cumming said. “The support demonstrated by these forward-thinking enterprises is a solid indication to the County of Huron that the industry is strong and united and thatís a big reason why the county has been showing such steadfast and increasing support for tourism as a pillar of economic development.”The County of Huron has underlined the importance of tourism to the local economy when it recently released the Annual Tourism Report. The report outlines the millions of dollars in economic spin-off from theatre, accommodation (such as hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, etc.), culture and heritage, recreation, and other experiences and attractions in the county. The report outlines some of those attractions and the ëdriversí that bring people to Ontarioís West Coast. The report also shows some of the strategies the county, in partnership with Huron Tourism Association, will be employing to bring tourists to the area through the strategic selection of tools and markets. The tourism report is available at: //www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/?page_id=265 
For more information visit ontarioswestcoast.ca and huroncounty.ca

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CONTACTS:
Tim Cumming, President, Huron Tourism Association (HTA) Board of Directors, 519-235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610 or e-mail tcumming@abca.on.ca

Jenna Ujiye, Tourism Marketer, County of Huron, juyiye@huroncounty.ca, Huron Tourism Association
c/o County of Huron, Planning and Development Department, 57 Napier Street, Goderich, Ontario,
Canada, N7A 1W2 Phone: (519) 524-8394, ext. 3, Fax: (519) 524-5677, tourism@huroncounty.ca

Backgrounder

The Huron County tourism industryís Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) began in 1991 as the Huron Tourism Group. It became the Huron Tourism Association (HTA) on September 7, 1993.
That year the association adopted a corporate logo and brand but the association had already been using the popular ëOntarioís West Coastí marketing brand for the Huron County destination before that time.
The mandate of the Huron Tourism Association is to develop and use cost-effective and result-oriented tourism strategies designed to market the Huron County tourism industry.
Huron Tourism Association is a membership-based organization and members offer their questions and comments at regular general meetings. The volunteer board of directors has wide representation from throughout the county and different aspects of the tourism industry, such as theatre and other attractions, campgrounds, hotels, beds and breakfasts, nature areas, dining, county, and tourism promotion organizations.
Tourism represents one of the four pillars of the Huron County economy, along with agriculture, manufacturing, and culture and heritage. The Huron Tourism Association is dedicated to further developing the Huron County tourism industry in order to foster new bus
inesses and employment opportunities, economic and community development, as well as a stronger business environment for all of the County of Huron.
For more information visit ontarioswestcoast.ca or huroncounty.ca

htabd2011.jpg tag – The 2011/2012 Huron Tourism Board of Directors – BR Peter Drew, Kerry Creek B&B; Bob Marshall, Tourism Goderich; Cindy Fisher, County Tourism Co-ordinator; Mary Cardiff, Huron Country Playhouse; Tim Cumming, Ausable Bayfield Conservstion Authority. FR Laurie Ginn, Shelter Valley Campground; Rosemary Davis, H.O. Jerry; Joan Karstens, Brentwood on the Beach; Liz Ihrig, Hessenland Country Inn; Jenna Ujiye, County Tourism Marketer. Missing from photo: John Bezaire, Blyth Festival; Susan Mills, Grand Bend Chamber; Kevin Reid, Benmiller Inn and Clair Soper, Clair on the Square B & B