Kincardine needs to divest itself of tourism as well as
economic development

By Liz Dadson


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There has been no shortage of opinion in the past few weeks, regarding tourism, tourism planning and tourism strategy.

Currently, Kincardine has a tourism department, Team Kincardine and a Tourism Table, each contributing to this one portfolio.

Kincardine also has a tourism strategic plan which is supposed to help these three entities focus on getting things done.

Well, it doesn't seem to be working.

If you sit down at a Tourism Table meeting, surrounded by volunteers from the community, you find they are enthusiastic and have lots of creative ideas.

Team Kincardine consists of the Kincardine Business Improvement Area (BIA) whose focus is downtown Kincardine; the Kincardine and District Chamber of Commerce whose focus is local business, again mainly in the Town of Kincardine; and the Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC) whose focus is promoting this region and attracting new business and industry.

Right now, Team Kincardine is also being paid to implement the Kincardine Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.

And then we have the tourism department which basically, posts events on-line, and runs the tourist booth on the highway, and not much else.

Any ideas for events or programs that will draw tourists to this area are not going to come from the tourism department, sad to say. They're going to come from that enthusiastic group we mentioned at the start - the Tourism Table - which is very much like the erstwhile tourism committee.

Whether you agree or disagree with the creation of PREDC and council paying annually for its services, it is doing substantially more for this community than the lacklustre municipal economic development department ever did, or ever could do.


The same can be said for tourism.

So, before Kincardine closes the books on the 2014 budget, perhaps it should consider handing an annual budget to Team Kincardine and the Tourism Table and urge those groups to take the ball and run with it.

Then, if they deem it a good idea to set up shop in downtown Kincardine - or "co-locate" offices, so to speak - then go for it.

A volunteer board of directors has done wonders for economic development, let's see what a similar volunteer board could do with tourism.

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Sunday, February 09, 2014