Federal government to support year-round sustainable tourism

ARTISTS OF THEIR OWN (left) Mayor Steve Ferguson and (right) Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte Neil Ellis stood proud with their prints they drew themselves at the announcement of $300,000 is being invested for Prince Edward County off-season tourism at Spark Box Studio on Friday. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

 

DESIRÉE DECOSTE

STAFF WRITER

With tourism representing more than two percent of Canada’s gross domestic product and supporting nearly 740,000 direct jobs in Canada, Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte Neil Ellis, announced Friday at Chrissy Poitras and Kyle Topping’s Spark Box Studio just north of Picton that $300,000 is being invested for Prince Edward County to support ‘Experience the County.’

This investment is to focus on local product and service development, market readiness training and way-finding & gateway signage. The end result will promote year-round sustainable tourism.

This investment is made through FedDev Ontario’s Canadian Experience Fund (CEF) which supports the creation, improvement or enhancement of tourism products, facilities and experiences.

The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

Strong regional economies are essential for Canada’s success and sustainability,” said Joly. “We are working with you to help businesses and innovators grow, succeed and create good jobs for Canadians. For that, we need to work together to make the right investments that will enable communities and businesses in all regions of the country to develop products and experiences to attract more tourists year-round.”

Some of the money will be used to create market readiness and ambassador training for local operators. The County is getting ready to launch  more visitor-oriented gateway and way-finding signage initiatives this springs well as a marketing campaign to promote the area and all the activities which are available in Prince Edward County in the low-season.

Hundreds of entrepreneurial and innovative people in The County have built businesses and attractions that employ thousands of people each year, making tourism the fastest growing industry in Prince Edward County and a critical part of our local economy,” County of Prince Edward Mayor Steve Ferguson said. “We’re excited to enhance the support we can offer tourism operators with the assistance of the Canadian Experiences Fund. We look forward to strengthening our tourism products and experiences and connecting more visitors to our many year-round attractions. The Federal Government recognizes how important PEC is and we are most appreciative of that recognition and that support for everything they’ve done.”

(left) Chrissy Poitras of Spark Box Studio helps (centre) Mayor Steve Ferguson and (right) MP Neil Ellis make their own prints to take home after the announcement. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

The County is also partnering with the Prince Edward Lennox & Addington Community Futures Development Corporation to offer a series of micro grants to support innovative improvements that have completed market readiness or ambassador training programs offered in their program.

It’s about having money come in for the economy,” said Ellis. “When you look at this announcement today, it’s not only going to help with way-finding & gateway signage, it also helps for people to be trained in a tourism season and the off-season. Tourism is a strong economic driver for Prince Edward County, and visitors come from far and wide to Experience the County. With FedDev Ontario funding through the Canadian Experiences Fund, Prince Edward County will be able to advance their tourism sector. I believe this funding is going to bring the local economy tremendous growth, and overall boost to the County as a whole. So it’s great that the Federal Government is helping out here.”

After the announcement, MP Ellis and Mayor Ferguson practiced their art skills with Poitras and Topping helping them make their own print to take home.

For more information on FedDev Ontario please visit www.feddevontario.gc.ca/eic/site/723.nsf/eng/home