On November 19, eight organizations convened in Portage la Prairie to share ideas and build relationships aimed at strengthening tourism investment at the local level.

The occasion was Travel Manitoba’s second industry Summit for regional tourism associations (RTAs) and destination marketing organizations (DMOs). This time around, it was clear that everyone was warming up to the idea of coming to the table to share successes and forge relationships, said Rick Gaunt, Senior Manager, Research/Market Intelligence.

“These Summits are building closer connections, and participants are saying it’s time to go further and put collaboration into practice,” Rick said. “It’s all about finding ways to work together and make things work better.”

As smaller organizations with broad responsibilities, the top priority of many RTAs and DMOs is to make every dollar count. As one participant noted, “We can only pay a half-time person to advocate for an area the site of Portugal.”

With this in mind, much of the discussion at the Summit focused on advocating for increased investment in tourism at the local level. Travel Manitoba provided tools RTAs and DMOs could use going forward, including statistics showing the economic return to a region when dollars are invested in tourism.

Participants shared a wide range of ideas and experiences, including:

  • How they are getting a better grasp on the economic benefits generated by specific activities, right down to the dollars spent by every visiting vehicle
  • Success with different revenue models, such as tiered funding and per-capita funding, as a way of building participation
  • The importance of tailoring outreach messages to different stakeholder groups and economic sectors
  • Ways of building deeper understanding and commitment among boards and members
  • How organizations can align their marketing materials with the Manitoba tourism brand, while retaining their own unique identity
  • How to leverage partnerships with local chambers of commerce and organizations like the Association of Manitoba Municipalities
  • Ways for improving click-throughs from the Travel Manitoba website to regional links.

The group also identified joint working priorities for Travel Manitoba, RTAs and DMOs for the year ahead.

To read the full report on the RTA/DMO Summit, visit the Travel Manitoba Summits.